Fourth fastest in Free Practice 2 then seizing pole in Qualifying by 0.257 seconds, Rory Skinner shook up the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup form book, starting the final weekend of the season. The Scot, who only turns 14 on Sunday, has Rookies Cup champ Bo Bendsneyder alongside him on the front row which is completed by 14-year-old Spaniard Raúl Fernández.
"That feels great," beamed Skinner who had impressed everyone with his superb Race 2 4th in slippery wet conditions at Silverstone. "The whole day has been perfect, I've got great feeling for the bike and I love the track. After Silverstone Misano was pretty disappointing because the bike settings didn't suit my riding style, here we went a lot softer, more like we had at Silverstone and I am a lot more confident with the bike."
Holding on to Pole
"My dad gave me the P1 on the board but I kept going," enthused Skinner. "You never know when someone is going to put in a quicker lap." In fact Bendsneyder only got as close as he did on his final circuit.
"That wasn't easy," grinned 16-year-old Bendsneyder. "The bike was good but there were a lot of riders around, all waiting and looking to follow. I really need a tow to put in a special lap and I only found that at the end, chasing Raúl."
"I'm glad I could do it, I kept seeing on the board, P6, P7; I thought, 'I'm the champ, I can't start from the second or third row!'... It's great though, it's the last two races of the year and it's fantastic that all the guys are going so fast and I think we are going to have some great fun this weekend."
Just one section
Fernández is now making a habit of qualifying on the front row and was very happy with the day's work. "Yes, very happy, the bike is just wonderful and I am very much enjoying riding it. I am sure we will have two good races. I am not feeling perfect in sector 3 so that I want to improve, it's something between me and the bike, we just haven't got it right yet."
Right back on form is Olly Simpson, fourth fastest. "That feels more like it," explained the 17 year old Australian. "I feel really good on the bike, I can pass just about anywhere I like and I think we have a very good race pace and should have had a better qualifying time late in the session but I just ran wide in the last corner. So very much looking forward to two good races.
Following a class act
Skinner's pole time of 2'01.745 bettered Jorge Martín's 2014 pole time of 2'01.843. Stressing the quality of that pace, 2014 Rookies Cup champ Martín was fourth fastest in Moto3 Free Practice 2 earlier today. That session was topped by another ex Rookie Enea Bastianini.
Ex Rookie Danny Kent continues to dominate the Moto3 title chase ahead of Misano victor Bastianini while yet another ex Rookie, Johann Zarco, has a chance of wrapping up the Moto2 title this weekend.
This weekend's Rookies Cup races can be seen live on www.redbull.tv 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.