Jorge Martín was the man to beat at the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup preseason test at Motorland Aragon. Three days of beautiful sunshine and light winds made conditions perfect and the 24 Rookies put in an impressive number of laps without serious incident.
It was 16-year-old Spaniard Martín who held the top of the timing screen through most of the sessions including the very final lap when he found an extra half second compared with his best to that point in the period and recorded the fastest time of all.
He already had the quick time from Day 2 and it looked as though with slightly higher winds that would stand but as he explained that last lap just worked out perfectly. "Brad (Ray) was about fifteen metres in front and I was catching, catching, I caught him down the back straight and went straight past so it couldn't have been better, just a great way to end the test."
Better than expected – Jorge Martín
"I expected coming here to be towards the front and do OK but not to be fastest all through, that is a surprise," explained Martín. "We did a lot of good work on the bike, improved things a lot, we could still get a bit more out of it through the fast corners but we can work on that in Jerez."
Going into the first round of his third Rookies Cup season Martín knows that he can be satisfied with nothing less that winning the Cup after being runner up last year. "Jerez is not really my favourite track but of course I like it because I won my first Rookies Cup race there and I'm looking forward to go back this year."
Second fastest – Joan Mir
"I'm very happy with that," grinned 16-year-old Spaniard Joan Mir who starts his second Cup season. "We really made some big steps forward with the bike and for Aragon I would say it is just about perfect. Jerez is of course different and we'll have to see but for sure we have a good starting point."
"Coming here I was aiming for the top 5 but it is a bit of a surprise to have run in the top two or three through the test, I didn't expect it. I am really looking forward to Jerez, it's a track I really like."
Third – Manuel Pagliani
"I'm destroyed," gasped the 17-year-old Italian in his second Cup season. "I really pushed in that last session, ran the whole time under 2m 3s just kept pushing all the way like we will have to in the race. It was a great test, I'm very pleased and I think the bike is working much better than last year, I am really enjoying it."
Fourth – Stefano Manzi
"I took things easy early on, just got used to the bike again," explained the Italian 15-year-old who is in his third Cup season. "I didn't want to push too soon. We didn't change so much on the bike, a little bit of work with the front but once I was happy with the feeling and we put in new tyres I could do the lap times and it wasn't too hard. It should be a great weekend in Jerez, a track I really like."
Fifth – Brad Ray
"It was tough to begin with, getting used to the bike again and getting it sorted out. I would say that this is one of my worst tracks so that didn't help," explained British 16-year-old Brad Ray who is contesting his third Cup season. "But over the three days we did get things working well, the bike's really good now. The one thing we need to improve is the trail braking going into corners, at the moment I would have trouble passing anyone there so that needs to improve. Jerez should be good though, I like it much better than here, it's one of my favourite tracks."
Sixth – Olly Simpson
"The test has been brilliant, I am a lot happier on the bike, we improved the way it tips in and the edge grip through the fast corners. It's really working well now. I think we can still do a bit of work on the front end chatter but overall it is very good. I didn't get to race in Jerez last year but I did the CEV round a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it so I can't wait to get there," said 16-year-old Australian Olly Simpson who missed out on last year's races having been brought down at the start of Race 1.
The opening round of the 2014 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup can be seen live on www.redbull.tv and on TV stations around the world. Race 1 takes place on Saturday, May 3rd at 16.30 CET and Race 2 is on Sunday at 15.30, the show starts 10 minutes before the race.