Baldassarri versus Deroue and the rest at Silverstone

Rookies Cup | Baldassarri versus Deroue and the rest at Silverstone

The Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup heads for the British Grand Prix this coming weekend and races 5 and 6 of the 15 on the 2012 schedule. Last year's Silverstone sensation Lorenzo Baldassarri is hoping that the wide open spaces of the ex airfield will allow him to get back on track to retain his title while current points leader Scott Deroue intends to keep his double Estoril victory juggernaut rolling.
Though 15 year old Baldassarri won race 2 at Jerez in April his other 2012 races have been somewhat frustrating. A 14th and a 10th from Estoril dropped him from points leader leaving Spain to 5th after Portugal. In contrast 16 year old Dutchman Deroue overcame taking just 6 points from Jerez thanks to a 10th in race one and being knocked off in race 2 to storm into the lead thanks to a 50 point perfect score in Estoril.
The fact that Baldassarri heads to Silverstone as lap record holder means little for both races were soaking wet last year and the Italian's 2 minute 31.500 second mark from Race 1 is way off the dry pole time recorded by Alan Techer at 2 min. 23.775. Baldassarri was the sensation of both races though, charging away from the pack on Saturday only to be caught as he failed to respond to the drying track and finished 4th.
He made no such error on the Sunday, shot off into the lead and though chased by Saturday's winner, the then 15 year old Austrian, Lukas Trautmann, he was never headed and won by 11 seconds. It was the race weekend that really set Baldassarri on course for the title while Trautmann could not quite match his pace in the second half of the season scoring only 4 points in the remaining races to finish the year 10th.
Trautmann will be hoping that his Silverstone form returns though everyone else will be keen on a significant improvement on the freezing wet conditions that blighted 2011. Deroue only picked up a single point last year for 19th and 15th but he is not the same rider, 12 months have wrought a huge change, he is by far the most improved Rookie and has rocketed from back-marker to points leader.
The title chase extends far beyond Deroue and Baldassarri of course and 16 year old Germans Philipp Oettl and Florian Alt lie 2nd and 3rd in this year's table and but for Alt's technical DNF in Race 2 in Jerez after he had won Race 1 he might well have the points lead.
Oettl was only denied a 2012 race win in the final metres in Estoril when pushed to 2nd by Deroue. His Rookies season has been something of a frustration as he has had trouble swapping from the 4-stroke Moto3 bike he rides in the Spanish Championship to the 2-stroke KTM Rookies machine. He will have to overcome that again in Silverstone, as will Baldassarri.
No such problems hinder Ivo Lopes, the 15 year old Portuguese who lies 4th in the title chase, he was only eased out of a Race 2 win in Jerez by Baldassarri at the line and was in the lead battle for race 2 in Estoril when he was knocked off by 14 year old Briton Bradley Ray.
Ray is one of the Britons in with a chance of home GP glory as long as he overcomes an ankle injury sustained in a British Championship race at Snetterton 2 weeks before Silverstone. That race was won by 14 year old Briton Kyle Ryde who has been a Cup front runner this year, lies 7th in the title chase and is obviously on form. Also returning from injury is 16 year old Scot Tarran Mackenzie who makes his Cup debut after missing the first 4 races with a knee injury.
Race 1 on Saturday starts at 17.30 CET and on Sunday, Race 2 gets under way at 17.00. Both races can be seen live on and on TV stations around the world.