Assen action

Flat out to Assen for the Rookies Cup

From the rolling hills of Tuscany and our thrilling single race at Mugello we swoop across the open polders of the Netherlands to Assen and another classic venue for two Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup races this coming weekend.

They are races four and five of this season's twelve so the youngsters are well up to speed on their KTM RC 250 Rs as indicated by the fact that just 1.5 seconds covered the first 13 riders in Italy.

Weather or not

Mugello saw perfect racing conditions and mid summer in Holland can be just as wonderful..... also not.....

The weather quite frequently throws a mixed bag at the Rookies and our Assen races have been run in all sorts of conditions so results are even more completely unpredictable. Last year those variable conditions didn't prevent Can Öncü taking a most impressive double so he must start the week as favourite.

Chasing the title

The 14-year-old Turk won the first race this season and heads the points table but it has been two newcomers who have pushed him back into second in races two and three so he is not having it at all his own way. Carlos Tatay won at home in Spain and the 15-year-old took fourth in Italy. Yuki Kunii took the top step of the podium in Mugello but unfortunately the 15-year-old Japanese broke his arm last week and cannot ride.

There are plenty of others keen to take up the challenge including Adrián Carrasco who was a great third in Mugello and had flashes of brilliance last season including second in the final race of the season in Aragon. The test for the 15-year-old Spaniard this year is to turn those flashes into a lasting light.

Plenty of opposition

For more consistent performers we can look to Filip Salač, the 15-year-old Czech who stands fifth in the title chase just behind the second of the Öncü twins, Deniz. Both Deniz and Filip were a little unlucky in Italy after being on the podium in Jerez and may well prove serious title threats.

With Kunii out, Japan's hopes rest with 16-year-old Ryusei Yamanaka standing sixth in the table and the Spanish also have 15-year-old Xavier Artigas as a serious prospect. 16-year-old Sean Kelly carries the stars-and-stripes with Barry Baltus already performing well for Belgium in his first season and having only turned 14 a couple of months ago he is the youngest on the track and tenth in the Cup points.

This weekend's Rookies Cup races can be seen live on and on TV stations around the world. Race 1 is at 16:30 CET on Saturday and Race 2 is on Sunday at 15:30, the show starts 10 minutes before the race.