Red Bull Rookies Cup

Carmelo Ezpeleta On The British Talent Cup: Dorna's History Of Nurturing Talent

It is terribly fashionable in some circles to regard Dorna as a blight on the face of motorcycle racing. Their alleged crimes are both heinous and manifold. They have dumbed down the sport by exerting an ever tighter grip over the technical regulations. They killed off the two strokes in favor of four strokes. They have aggressively pursued copyright and trademark claims, at the cost of broadening the appeal of the sport. They have been relentless in their pursuit of financial gain over the spirit of the sport. They have meddled in the sport to favor one rider, or one nationality over the rest.

Most of these complaints are either baseless, or an expression of anger at how the sport has changed over the years. Some points are valid: the death of the 250cc two strokes, however understandable from a financial point of view, was a tragedy, as a 250cc two stroke was perhaps the most perfect expression of a racing motorcycle. In the past, as I found myself on occasion, Dorna were slow to embrace change online, and wasted energy chasing down Youtube clips of MotoGP, rather than controlling them by providing them to fans in an easy-to-share way. (Fortunately for the fans, they have learned and bettered their ways in this regard.)

Yet it is hard to argue with results. This season, six factories – three Japanese, three European – will line up on the MotoGP grid. 23 riders from seven different countries will take the start, with a grand total of 31 world championship titles between them. The bikes they will ride are extremely close in performance, with technical differences limited. For the past two years, riders from three different countries have won the three Grand Prix titles. The MotoGP series has emerged from global financial crisis in rude health, despite some major challenges along the way.

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Peter Clifford Interview: On Red Bull Rookies In Moto3, The European Junior Cup, And Female Riders

That the Red Bull Rookies Cup has been a huge success goes without saying. Former rookies now fill the front of the Moto3 grid, and are starting to make an impact in Moto2. The goal of the Red Bull Rookies Cup, of bringing young riders from around the world into Grand Prix racing has clearly been met.

So successful has it been that two years ago, the World Superbike series set up a similar project. After a modest first year, the European Junior Cup is thriving in its second year, and providing some fantastic racing for talented young riders. At Jerez earlier this year, we had the opportunity to talk to Red Bull Rookies Cup supervisor Peter Clifford about the series he is involved in, as well has the European Junior Cup. He gave us his view of the rival series, but also on a range of other subjects.

The interview covered the difference between four strokes and two strokes, the range of nationalities participating in the Rookies Cup, the complementary role of the European Junior Cup, and the approach the Rookies Cup is taking towards female riders in the series. As always, Clifford provides plenty of food for thought.

MotoMatters: There has been a major change to the Red Bull Rookies Cup this year, with the switch from the 125cc KTM two strokes to the four stroke KTM RC250R. How has the series changed this year?

Peter Clifford: The new bikes that's the huge difference. We've had the usual influx of riders, we keep roughly half from the previous year, and add about half new guys. And of course, this year it makes it an even more level playing field for everybody, because they've all got new motorcycles. They've done four days of preseason testing, everybody got the same treatment, obviously, and then went to Austin for the first races on the new bikes. It's been really good.

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2013 Austin MotoGP Preview: A New Track, Some Obvious Favorites, And Some Great Racing

"I thought Laguna Seca was a tough track to learn, and then I came here." Bradley Smith's verdict on the Circuit of The Americas at Austin, Texas, after six laps on the scooter around the track. Smith's words sum up the general feeling about the newest addition to the MotoGP calendar, mind-boggling sequences of decreasing and increasing radius turns, with blind entrances, complex combinations and a few hard-braking hairpins with tough entrance points.

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WSBK Launches European Junior Cup, Rival To Red Bull Rookies

Since its inception, the Red Bull Rookies Cup (and its predecessor, the MotoGP Academy) has proved to be a rich source of talent for the MotoGP series. Top riders such as Bradley Smith and promising youngsters such as Sturla Fagerhaug and Jonas Folger have come through the system, with a steady flow of more youngsters coming through all the time.

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World Superbikes To Set Up Series To Rival Red Bull Rookies?

The World Superbike series has long watched the Red Bull Rookies Cup in envy, as talent from the series - and its predecessor, the Grand Prix Academy - starts to flow into the 125cc series and up into the higher classes. The Red Bull Rookies Cup has clearly served as a talent pool for Dorna, and encouraged young riders towards Grand Prix machinery, and away from production-based racing.

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MotoMatters.com Switching Hosting - Some Site Outage Possible In Days To Come

The enormous success of MotoMatters.com has seen our traffic grow tenfold over the past three years, and we are starting to become the victims of our own success. We have completely outgrown our current hosting situation, and after DNS problems made MotoMatters.com unreachable for a small part of our readers earlier this year, it was clear we had to act.

The time has now come for us to switch to a bigger, better and faster server. Unfortunately, this means some inconvenience for our readers for the next week or so, as the internet gets used to the idea that http://www.motomatters.com is located on a different server. Consequently, the website could become unreachable for a short length of time, and mail may not be delivered correctly.

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Memory Lane, Part 4: An English Summer At Donington Park, The Final Instalment

After two previous chapters, we come to an end of Scott Jones' beautiful photos from Donington Park. Despite the rain, it was a fantastic weekend, which threw up a fair number of surprises. Tragically, and as a result of gross incompetence, Donington Park has been vandalized in a desperate and ultimately failed attempt to attract Formula 1, and now the track is all but unusable. Next year, we go to Silverstone, and with your help, Scott and I will be there to try and capture the moment in words and pictures.


Unlike his teammate, Jorge Lorenzo's luck ran out at the British Grand Prix

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Red Bull Rookies Cup Series To Be Broadcast Online

The Red Bull Rookies Cup provided some of the most entertaining racing of the year for spectators attending the European MotoGP rounds, but given the nature of the competitors, that was to be expected. Having thirty-odd teenagers with hyperactive hormones and no fear of death all racing for glory on identical bikes is a recipe for both spectacle and disaster. Fortunately, the skill these young boys and girls displayed helped avert disaster in most cases, leaving just the spectacle to enjoy. My personal favorite moment was at Assen, watching the Red Bull Rookies head into the final GT chicane eight abreast, none of them with any intention of giving ground to each other.

Unfortunately for people who weren't at the races, or couldn't follow the races live on the Red Bull Rookies website, there was little coverage on live TV. That appalling error has now been remedied, with the online broadcaster VBS has put together an eight-part series covering the 2009 Red Bull Rookies Cup. You can watch all of the episodes over on the VBS website, or watch the trailer or the first episode below.

Trailer

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KTM To Pull Out Of 125 Class?

When KTM announced they would be withdrawing from the 250cc class at the end of last year, it was generally put down to the bitterness felt by the Austrian factory over the way the Moto2 class was forced through. That announcement was followed shortly by both the onset of the global financial crisis, and a string of very poor financial results by KTM. Since then, KTM has been gradually screwing back its involvement in two-stroke road racing, including withdrawing support from the US Red Bull Rookies series, causing that class to collapse before the start of the season. Earlier this month, when the 2010 Red Bull Rookies Cup was announced, the press release made no mention of KTM, and the Red Bull Rookies web site states that the bike the rookies will be using next season is the Metrakit Pre GP 125.

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