Red Bull Rookies ready for rematch

MotoGP Rookies looking to sweep the series

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Oct. 21, 2008, Photography by GEPA pictures
The Red Bull Riders Cup will be contested for the second time at the final MotoGP weekend of the season in Valencia, Spain on Oct. 25. The top ten riders from the Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup cross the Atlantic to do battle with their opposite numbers from the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup.

The Riders Cup was contested for the first time on the other side of the pond as part of the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix. In the trickiest conditions imaginable, the MotoGP team benefited from some misfortune that saw key members of the opposition fall. It was, for the AMA riders, unfamiliar, wet and slippery conditions.

Valencia in October will likely see more favorable conditions and a closer race than at Indy which saw the MotoGP team outscore the AMA rookies 114 to 26.

MotoGP Rookie Luis Salom (39) follows AMA Rookie Leandro Mercado at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.For the American trip the MotoGP Rookies traveled together and pulled together as a team. Back on European soil and with the first round under their belt there is an undeniable element of individual desire in the way that the key members of the team are looking at the rematch.

Im looking forward to it and for sure I want another good result, says Sturla Fagerhaug, winner in Indianapolis and a close third in the 2008 MotoGP Rookies Cup. The 16-year-old Norwegian has had plenty of time to think about things since the American trip. The weekend I got back from Indy I did a race in Spain but since then Ive just been at home training.

I dont think its going to be easy for us to win in Valencia. We went to Indy and they had the home advantage but we still won. This time we have the home advantage but they could also turn that round on us. We should win, we know the track very well but anything can happen, a few crashes, we can't assume anything.

Fagerhaug says that Spanish teen Luis Salom will is sure to be fast in front of the home crowd, while Matt Hoyle and Mathew Scholtz should also have a good showing. From the other side, he says he expects Hayden Gillim, Jake Gagne, Leandro Mercado and Benny Solis will be the same guys to watch.

Spain's King Carlos will be cheering for Luis Salom in the Valencia round of the Riders Cup.While Fagerhaug may have been at home thinking about racing his teammate Hoyle has been busy, testing the new Maxtra Grand Prix 125 and winning the British 125 Championship. As happy as he is with the National Championship, Hoyle will not be satisfied to complete his two seasons in the Red Bull Rookie program without a victory. Second places are just not enough.

I am going there to win, says the 17-year-old Hoyle. Its my last Rookies race and I want to go out with a win. I know Ive got the pace, Ive just got to put the full race together. I won 6 races in the 125 British Championship this year so I know how to do it, Ive just not yet done it in the Rookies.

I know it is a team race but I can't get away from the fact that I want to win this one, Hoyle adds. As for the team side of things; I think it will be harder for the AMA guys to come to Valencia and do what we did at Indianapolis. I think that Valencia is a harder track to learn than Indy and we all know it well. Theres nothing certain in racing but it will be hard for them to learn it in the time available.

Whoever wins in Valencia will keep the Riders Cup over the winter. The odds may favor the MotoGP Cup Team but if the AMA U.S. Cup squad can pull together as a team they might just spring a surprise and carry the trophy home.