Fabio Di Giannantonio took an impressive Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup pole position from Bo Bendsneyder on a sultry hot afternoon in Brno. The 16-year-old Italian was in great form and loving every moment of it while the Dutchman smiled quietly and confidently.
Spanish 16-year-old Oscar Gutierrez completed the front row with his final lap of the day and pushed Ayumu Sasaki, the 14-year-old Japanese, into fourth ahead of Italian 16-year-old Mattia Casadei.
As good as Mugello
Di Giannantonio explained his enthusiasm easily. "To me this track is like Mugello and Mugello is my favourite place so I like riding here as well, almost as much, it is just so much fun on the KTM. I enjoyed the whole day, we worked on the bike, it still isn't perfect, it is difficult to get the front right here and we will talk about perhaps changing something for tomorrow. I am sure that the race is going to be a lot of fun," he asserted with a brilliant smile.
Bendsneyder was also smiling and perhaps being less than completely open about the situation. "There always seemed to be lots of riders around when I wanted to set a good lap, people following or we were catching other guys at the wrong time, like on the last lap. P2 is not so bad and the bike is good so I think tomorrow will be a good battle with Fabio and the other guys," explained the Cup leader. So does he have something in reserve? "Well..... maybe, maybe," and the classic grin.
A great last lap
While Di Giannantonio and Bendsneyder ran at the front all day, Sachsenring pole man Gutierrez didn't get there until the end. "Finally!" he exclaimed with that truly brilliant smile. "In FP1 I was struggling with the bike, not happy with the front the, the change for FP2 made it better then in Qualifying I was quite happy with it but only in the top ten."
"With ten minutes to go I came in for a drink and then went out again, I saw that I was only P10 with time for one more lap and that made me a bit mad at myself. I went for it and am so happy it worked out. The bike is good and now we can enjoy the race!"
First year Rookie Sasaki takes fourth place on the grid despite the pain of a missing fingernail on his left hand after a fall in a Malaysian non Cup race. "I enjoy the track very much. In FP1 it was quite difficult to learn, I followed Bo and Fabio a bit, they know their way round here and I learnt from them so that I could then do the lap time on my own and I am happy with the bike now and looking for a good race."
Casadei, another newcomer, sits beside him on the grid after his best performance of the season so far. "I am very happy with that, it took quite a lot of work to get the bike working so that I felt confident with it but it is good now and I am looking forward to the race."
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 and Race 2 on Sunday at 15.30, the broadcasts begin 10 minutes before race start.