Bo Bendsneyder signalled his clear intent to extend his Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup points lead at Silverstone by taking pole position ahead of Marc Garcia. The 16-year-old Dutchman and the 15-year-old Spaniard chased each other round leaving Raúl Fernández, another Spanish 15-year-old, to complete the front row in his first visit to Silverstone.
"I'm very happy with that," beamed Bendsneyder who had not looked so convincing in the preceding two free sessions. "No we had some problems with the bike to find the right setting but for the qualifying it was very good."
"I'm a big guy so I need a slipstream for a good lap and I worked with Marc on that," explained Bendsneyder who always has to try extra hard to get tucked away on the KTM RC 250 R. "He towed me up the straights and could follow me through some of the corners, it worked for both of us."
It wasn't planned beforehand as Garcia explained. "No, we hadn't talked about it, we kind of talked on track. It's my first time on the front row, normally I am out there lapping on my own and I only seem to qualify on the third row and that leaves me a lot to do for the race. It's much better to be alongside Bo at the front," concluded Garcia who nevertheless has already been on the podium three times this year.
"Yes I didn't expect that," admitted Fernández who is very much a man on form after an excellent third in Race 1 at Brno and possible win that only evaporated at the last corner in Race 2. "I'm enjoying it so much out there, a great track. The bike is very good but not perfect, the rear is sliding around too much when I open the throttle in the fast corners so we may change something for the race."
Another first year Rookie doing very well is Ayumu Sasaki, the 14-year-old Japanese who qualified fourth. "It was a difficult track to learn at first, it took me the first two sessions. Then in qualifying I was in a big group and it was hard to find space but I managed it at the end. We might still be able to improve the front for the race as well."
And the race
Garcia too has thoughts of changing the bike for the race. "Yes I think that the rear can be better," he suggested. As for Bendsneyder, he is thinking of a different sort of change, no more teamwork with Garcia. "I'm going to push from the start and see if I can get away from the guys," he admitted frankly.
This weekend's Rookies Cup races can be seen live on www.redbull.tv and on TV stations around the world with Race 1 on Saturday at 16.30 (British Summer Time, 17.30 CEST) and Race 2 on Sunday at 16.00 BST (17.00 CEST), the broadcasts begin 10 minutes before race start.