2023 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup
Round One – Portimao
2023 will usher in the 17th running of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, with 26 riders from 17 nations to compete on the KTM RC 250 R at the opening round at Portimao this weekend.
Two days of testing at the same circuit offered preparation and with record-breaking lap times being set not only by the experienced riders in their 2nd and 3rd season but also by those in their 1st, the stage is set for another incredible season.
The most winners in one year were in 2011 and there have never been fewer than 4. If the closeness of the test is anything to go by it seems highly unlikely that Pedro Acosta’s record of 6 wins in a row to start the season will be broken. But then he went on to win the Moto3 World Championship the following season taking 2nd in his first Grand Prix and winning the next 3.
It is Karel Hanika who has the most Rookies career wins though, 10 from 2 seasons, 2012 and 2013. Acosta has 9, also from 2 years, as do Bo Bendsneyder and Can Öncü.
It’s not all about numbers and more great rivalries between fascinating characters are bound to develop. 15-year-old Màximo Quiles and fellow Spaniard 16-year-old Angel Piqueras finished 3rd and 4th in last year’s Cup.
With the riders in front of them, José Rueda and Collin Veijer now contesting the Moto3 World Championship they are title favourites in their 2nd Cup seasons. They already have 3 and 2 Cup wins to their names respectively and finished 1st and 2nd in the final race of 2022.
Rico Salmela, the 15-year-old Finn, will mix it with them looking for his second Cup win and more. Casey O’Gorman, the Irish 15-year-old is still looking for his first Cup victory but was second in Race 1 in Portimão last season, his Rookies Cup debut.
Cormac Buchanan, the 16-year-old Kiwi has yet to mount a Rookies podium but was right on the pace at the test having just flown from the other side of the world where he clinched the 300cc and 600cc New Zealand titles three days before.
Some of the new boys are likely to shake things up from Race 1, including the 15-year-olds, Italians Guido Pini and Edoardo ‘Doddo’ Boggio, Malaysian Hakim Danish and Spaniards Álvaro Carpe and Alberto Ferrández.
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