Silverstone MotoGP Rookies Cup: Preview

2011 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup

The British Grand Prix at Silverstone this coming weekend is the venue for the 5th and 6th rounds of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. The Cup’s first visit to this classic venue is even more exciting as it will see early Cup leader Philipp Oettl back in action against current points leader Arthur Sissis.

German 15-year-old Oettl missed the last two races in Estoril after breaking his collarbone testing his German Championship bike on April 9. He has recovered well and raced in the German Championship on May 22 at the Nurburgring, finishing sixth.

His victory and a second place in the opening races in Jerez had put him on top of the points table but his absence from the races in Portugal dropped him to third while Australian 15-year-old Sissis took full advantage and backed up his sixth and first in Spain with a second and first in Estoril giving him a handsome 80 points, 27 in front of 2nd place holder Lorenzo Baldassarri, the 14-year-old Italian.

Baldassarri is certainly a championship threat as he has put together a string of wonderful performances in his first year as a Rookie. With a third and a second in Portugal he has his sights set on a win at Silverstone with the added confidence that few of the opposition have any experience at the track.

Arguably the fastest man and the Rookie to beat is still Brad Binder, the 15-year-old South African in his third Rookie season. He has been on pole at both tracks so far and should have had four podiums under his belt but for two crashes. He did take second in the opening race of the year after being caught by Oettl and won the first race in Estoril, that gives him equal third in the Cup standings with Oettl, 35 points behind Sissis.

With 10 races remaining in this year’s Cup chase there are a possible 250 points still to be claimed and the battle is open to more than just the lead four. Another three riders have already demonstrated their ability to stand on the podium; Alan Techer, the 16-year-old Frenchman, Aaron Espana the 13-year-old Spaniard and fellow countryman 15-year-old Xavier Pinsach who stand fifth, sixth and seventh in the Cup points.

The Rookies get their first chance to find their lines on the historic Silverstone circuit with 3 sessions of Practice on Friday, June 10th. The track has evolved a great deal since being converted from a 2nd World War airfield in 1948. It was home to the British Grand Prix from 1977 to 1986 and after a long spell at Donington returned to a very much revised Silverstone in 2010. The track has been altered again for this year with the start line being moved and a new paddock complex built.

The 2 Rookies races on Saturday and Sunday, June 11th and 12th, will both be televised around the world. Those who cannot see the races live on TV can enjoy the live webcast on redbull.tv with Saturday’s race show starting at 17.20 CET and Sunday’s at 16.50 CET.