Jorge Martín leads the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and is going to be hard to stop as he sits on pole position for Saturday's single race at Misano. The 16-year-old Spaniard dominated a wet day of practice and qualifying on the Adriatic coast and only needs a modest race performance to take the title.
His only title rival, fellow Spaniard Joan Mir, sits on the other side of the front row with 16-year-old Australian Olly Simpson between them. Martín denies that it was a perfect day. “It wasn't, I crashed twice. Lucky I did not hurt myself or really damage the bike too much. It's good to be on pole and even though we have no dry setting it should not be a problem. It will be like Mugello,” he concluded with a grin recalling his other runaway win in Italy following wet practice.
It is not over
Mir is still determined to attack and not give up hope while he still has the chance to battle Martín for the title. “The front row is OK, I can race for the win from there,” asserted the 16-year-old. “It was not easy today, I had a technical problem on my bike in Free Practice 2 so I had to swap machines for one of the spares and that was not set up quite the same as mine. I didn't have a good feeling and trying to push I had quite a nasty crash,” explained Mir who is 49 points behind Martín.
“It is a bit of a worry that we didn't have any dry practice,” continued the Majorcan. “Santi (suspension engineer) says he has the right settings, so I hope he's right. I hope it is going to be a big race tomorrow,” he concluded with his bright smile.
Just one point
Martín only needs to gain a point on Mir at Misano and the title will be his with the two races in Aragon still remaining. “I am not going to take any silly risks,” asserted the points leader. “As long as I finish close to Mir it will make Aragon easier.”
While the title contest is clear cut the race itself could be anyone's as the three wet sessions do not give too much of an indication as to the performance we expect in the dry which is forecast for Saturday afternoon. Going from the front row though, with his usually excellent starts, Simpson is likely to feature. “It was a good day today for sure, I didn't want to take any risks, I didn't fall, I just built up to it and built up my confidence.”
Simpson was one of the few who didn't make a mistake even though he said that things were deceiving as there was less surface water in qualifying. “The track started to look as though it was drying but it really wasn't, I just kept building up slowly and feeling my way. I think the race should be OK, we have a pretty good dry setting from the other races.”
Heading the second row, Manuel Pagliani, last year's winner is also confident that settings should not be an issue. “The bike was good today and we will just go back to last year's settings, I am confident. I was building up through qualifying and I was going for it at the end, on a very good lap when the red flag came out, I just seem to be unlucky this year,” stated the 18-year-old Italian. The session was halted a minute early.
Back to basics
Brad Ray qualified 5th and feels ready to race. “That was a pretty good session, I had P1 and things were going well. I came round a bit later and saw P3 on my board and thought I had better get going, I pushed a bit hard and had a high-side in turn 4,” explained the muddied 17-year-old Briton. “I'm OK though and we should be OK going back to our dry base setting.”
Saturday's race can be seen live on www.redbull.tv and on TV stations around the world at 16.30 CET with the show starting ten minutes earlier.