September 26, 2019
Red Bull Rookies
Max came into the Aragon weekend eighth in the standings, but on a circuit many riders know very well and with lots of Spaniards around him, holding onto a top ten position was always going to be tough. But Max himself is a fan of Aragon and set the fastest lap there in the final race of the season last year.
Picking up from where he left off Max hit the ground running in practice with sixth place overall. Sadly, things did not go so well in qualifying with Max finishing the session down in fourteenth place. It left him with work to do in both races, but it’s a challenge Max has been faced with plenty of times before.
With fifteen laps ahead Max had plenty of time to move his way through the field and he started that process immediately moving up to thirteenth on the opening lap. However, chances of moving much further forward were slim at this stage of this race with the top ten riders creating a gap. With the nature of the Aragon circuit that task was even more difficult, but it’s a challenge Max has often overcome this season and today would be no different!
Max went on to catch the leaders all on his own having gapped the group behind, a seriously impressive performance given they were all slipstreaming each other! He extended the lead group from nine riders to ten and now had seven laps to try and make as many positions as possible. As riders ahead fell Max was quickly up to seventh with the lead group now well clear from the rest of the field.
During the final five laps, it was clear the life had been taken out of Max’s tyres whilst closing in the leaders and he did not appear to have the same grunt down the straights either. But nevertheless, going onto the final lap he was part of the lead queue and heavily challenged for positions all the way to the flag eventually finishing seventh less than a second behind the eventual race winner!
Max also demonstrated he had the pace to win setting the fastest lap of the race for the third time this season, a statistic that only the champion Carlos Tatay could match!
Having proved he could be quicker than anyone around Aragon Max’s confidence was even higher going into race two and that quickly showed as he moved up to tenth on the first lap. In the last race of the season everyone was keen to end on a high and it made for a very close race with eighteen riders in the lead group!
Two laps in and Max moved into the top ten and got his elbows out running as high as seventh in the early stages. Although right in the thick of the lead group Max became involved in a battle with fellow podium finisher Barry Baltus and Saturday’s race winner Billy van Eerde. It was a frustrating situation, but also a highly entertaining battle with all three riders making fantastic moves whilst staying with the leaders.
With five laps to go a fantastic move around the outside of Lorenzo Fellon at turn one put Max into sixth! Max would eventually lay in seventh going on to the final lap, with the lead group briefly creating a gap it left Max vulnerable into turn one and he dropped to ninth place.
That loss would set off a chain reaction with Max getting swallowed up and with no tow down the all-important back straight he could nothing about dropping to twelfth at the flag. It was an underserved result after a fantastic ride saw him as high as sixth, but the result would be enough to hold on to ninth in the championship.
Although the final result was not what Max had in mind he can only look back at his time in the Red Bull Rookies Cup with pride. Having finished eighteenth with 23 points and a best result of eighth in 2018. Max showed huge improvement with ninth and 83 points in 2019, also setting the three fastest laps, which was the joint most along with champion Carlos Tatay.
He has proved on the World’s biggest stage he was capable of winning races and took a podium at the Sachsenring. With better fortunes, there’s no doubt Max would have fought for a top five finish overall, but anytime he was knocked down he picked himself straight back up and it has been a fantastic experience which sees Max leave a much-improved rider.
Max still has the Moto3 Junior World Championship to finish which continues this weekend at Jerez.