Returning to Mugello for the first time since 2014, the Red Bull Rookies Cup is certain of a glorious weekend in the Tuscan hills. Spanish 15-year-old Carlos Tatay arrives in Italy as joint Cup leader with Turkish 14-year-old Can Öncü as the pair had a win and a second each over the opening weekend in Spain.
Tatay is in his first Cup season but the track is new to everyone including Öncü yet the Turk never takes long to find his feet and has a year of experience on the KTM RC 250 R to draw on. The other two riders on the podium in Jerez were Deniz Öncü, twin brother to Can, and Filip Salač the 16-year-old Czech. They shared third and fourth places and so are tied third in the Cup points. Like Can, Deniz is in his second Cup season while Filip has two years behind him.
The rolling hills make the circuit very different to Jerez and the corners are even bigger and quicker, it should be the fastest circuit in the season with the KTMs getting close to 230kph (143mph). Perhaps the most frustrated rider in Jerez was Japanese 16-year-old Ryusei Yamanaka, after qualifying third and feeling he should have had pole he took sixth and fifth in the races. He goes to Italy determined to at least podium and chase overall Cup victory in his second season.
The Italian Rookies with thoughts of glory at home are 14-year-olds Pasquale Alfano and Matteo Patacca, both in their first Cup season. Alfano was outside the points in Jerez but showed more pace in Qualifying. Patacca was ninth in Race 2 after having to make a drive-through in Race 1 following a jump start.
Rookies Cup Race 3 of the twelve takes place on Saturday with the usual post MotoGP track invasion on Sunday making a second outing impossible. Just a single race then but it is bound to be a good one. This weekend’s Rookies Cup races can be seen live on www.redbull.tv and on TV stations around the world. Race 1 is at 16:30 CET on Saturday, the show starts 10 minutes before the race.