Billy Van Eerde on the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup

Billy Van Eerde talks his experience at the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup test round at Jerez, where he had the opportunity to explore a new track and the KTM RC250, ahead of May’s season opener in the same location, as well as catching up with some old acquaintances.

Billy Van Eerde is the lone Australian competing in the Cup this year, which will be held across seven rounds throughout Europe.


Billy Van Eerde
Billy Van Eerde

Billy Van Eerde

After finishing the second round of the Asia Talent Cup in Thailand we spent four days in Bangkok unwinding after a hectic one and a half weeks. Then it was Bangkok to Dubai, Dubai to Madrid and from there we caught a train over to Jerez.

Billy passing through immigration
Billy passing through passport control on his way to Jerez

The week officially started off with Dad and I getting all our team clothing in Jerez and setting up the bike for the next three days of riding. Our hotel was in the city which is about 25 mins from the circuit. Monday morning was spent doing media and photos, while Dad met the Red Bull mechanics and staff.

Monday saw the riders having their pictures taken ahead of going on track
Monday saw the riders having their pictures taken ahead of going on track

This was followed by learning the mechanical side of the KTM RC250, and I had made some friendships with other riders so it was great to catch up. English is the language used, so we all understand each other.

Billy Van Eerde caught up with some old acquaintances among the Red Bull Rookies ranks
Billy Van Eerde caught up with some old acquaintances among the Red Bull Rookies ranks

Tuesday was a big day of ride sessions with standard settings, and then trying to fine tune things to suit each individual’s style. It went quite well, and I was getting a bit of feeling for the bike and learning the track. Both the track and bike were brand new for me so it was interesting.

Billy Van Eerde at the Jerez Red Bull Rookies test
Billy Van Eerde at the Jerez Red Bull Rookies test

We are set in rows of six riders, one Red Bull mechanic and our fathers or helper. My row were all riders doing their second or third season with Rookies, and shared their past experiences. The bikes are so flexible and offer many different setup options.

There was some study included over the days between riding
There was some study included over the days between riding

Wednesday we had three sessions on the bike, before all bikes were stripped to clean and replace parts, check valve settings, etc. It started off really well, getting a decent time in at the start of the day which gave me a bit of confidence for the rest of the day. But I still didn’t have a setting I was completely comfortable with.

Wednesday saw the bikes stripped down, which is work done by the mechanics as well as the rider's Dads or helpers
Wednesday saw the bikes stripped down, which is work done by the mechanics as well as the rider’s Dads or helpers

Thursday we had a rest day, and the bikes were put back together. There were also some group lectures about formats and grid procedures for us and the mechanics. As you can imagine, the Dads don’t get much free time as it’s them or the helpers and mechanics who had to pull the bikes down and make sure everything was ready for the final day.

Friday saw a busy day as riders had their last opportunity to test their machines and learn the track ahead of Round 1
Friday saw a busy day as riders had their last opportunity to test their machines and learn the track ahead of Round 1

Friday was another busy ride day with seven sessions, with the pace hotting up as it was the last chance before the first round in May. It begun not so well for me with a crash early in the session in turn 1.

I was completely fine and got back out there for a few more laps before the session ended. The more track time I got the better I felt, but I was losing a lot of my time in the final sector, where I was having some big problems.

Despite making progress the final sector continued to be a challenge for Billy Van Eerde
Despite making progress the final sector continued to be a challenge for Billy Van Eerde

I couldn’t get a good feel with the bike and finished with a heavy high-side from fifth gear flat out in turn 12 unfortunately. The safety equipment supplied is of the best quality, so no injuries except bruising. You couldn’t get a better organised or equipped competition than the Red Bull Rookies.

Billy suffered a Turn 1 crash on Friday, but was soon back out on track.
Billy suffered a Turn 1 crash on Friday in the first session, but was soon back out on track. A higher speed crash in Turn 12 also followed in the final session.

Overall, I still had a great time and am very thankful for the opportunity The Cup is giving me. Next race for me is Jerez GP and I hope I can get a good setup and have a good weekend!

Bring on round 1!
Bring on round 1!

Saturday we flew to Barcelona and hired a little Fiat and drove up to Andorra, where it was snowing.  We were very fortunate, as Jack Miller offered us a room and Josh Hook is also here at the moment.

Heading to Andorra in their rented out Fiat
Heading to Andorra in their rented out Fiat in some great snowboarding weather!

I’ve also been snowboarding with Lachlan Epis, and Shane Stratton has taken me to the gym. Shane is also going to take me to do some super motard practice when it stops snowing and raining over here.

Billy Van Eerde
Billy Van Eerde