July 3, 2019
Red Bull Rookies
From the start of the weekend it seemed Max’s luck was finally changing in 2019 after he finished an impressive seventh in qualifying. Without a tow Max put in an impressive time of a 1:45.9 which was a whole two seconds quicker than the time he did in 2018 and was 0.7 seconds than last years pole time! With second to eighth split by just six tenths it was clear the MotoGP crowd were going to be treated to two hard fought races in the Red Bull Rookies.
Max got off to a good start in race one and although he dropped to as low as tenth in the opening couple of laps he stayed with the lead group and stayed out of trouble. It wasn’t long before Max was back to where he started now in the second group which had slightly dropped back from the lead five.
With eleven laps to go Max had got into the lead of the chasing group and still had more than enough time to lead a chase to the five leaders or get a career best sixth. But coming out of the chicane to start the final ten laps Max came to a halt after suffering an electrical fault which put him out of the race. It seemed the demons had re-emerged but Max remained confident knowing he could get a good result tomorrow.
Race two saw Max keep a clean pair of heels once again on the opening lap leaving him ninth by the time the field crossed the line for the first time. But with heavy battles just ahead the lead seven were allowed to escape all bearing lots of resemblances to race one.
Going on to lap three Max jumped from tenth to eighth and made his intentions clear to the riders behind that he was going to chase the leaders and bring them along with him! French rider Lorenzo Fellon, decided to tag along and work with Max who began to take huge chunks out of the lead seven.
With eleven laps to go Max had completed the chase as he and Fellon joined the party for the lead. Just making it to the leaders was an impressive effort but Max’s hard work had only just begun as he started to pick off riders ahead. Within a couple of laps Max was up to fourth and right in the middle of what was a fierce battle for the lead with the order changing almost every single corner!
With Assen being such a fast circuit it was hard to know where you wanted to be going onto the last lap with no signs that the lead group was going to separate. Heading into the final three laps Max sat in fifth with the group as close as ever. After Noguchi went down ahead Max was able to capitalize and jump up to third place!
The top two had a gap which put Max back into chase mode and along with championship leader, Carlos Tatay, they made it eight for the lead on the penultimate lap. It seemed Max had timed his race to perfection after he pulled off a bold move to go from fourth to second through turn seventeen before quickly dropping to third through the final chicane.
It allowed the top two to just edge away but once again Max dropped in behind Tatay and with half a lap to go he was fighting for the race win! It all came down to the fast run through turns fifteen, sixteen and seventeen and down to the final chicane. Max decided to play his card after a fantastic run through sixteen and dived up the inside of second going into the left hander at seventeen but didn’t quite have enough of a run to do it on the brakes and in the end had to back out and settle for fourth place.
Across the line Max would take a career best fourth place right in the middle of the lead group which smashed his previous career best of eighth place. Although he just missed out on a podium the celebrations from Max were clear to see. He has fought through technical faults, illness and penalties and now finally he was able to prove what he can do in Red Bull Rookies and with that result in the bag this could almost be the start of Max’s season.
Max Cook: “It’s the race I’ve been waiting for this year and I’m so pleased I’ve finally been able to show what I’m capable of. It was an amazing race and I’m happy how I rode and raced in the front group. I was pushing hard for the win and I thought on the last lap I could do it, but the move I tried on the last lap didn’t quite work out so I had to settle for 4th. The podium is my next goal and hopefully I’m a step closer to doing this for Germany which is a circuit I love.”
It was a hugely popular result in the motorcycle racing community with the messages pouring in and deservedly so. It was a mature ride and an intelligent ride with Max timing his race very well. He was never out of contention for the win after completing the chase to the leaders and pulled off some brilliant moves.
The result comes at a perfect time with the Red Bull Rookies at Sachsenring this weekend for round four. A track which saw Max take his best finish of the season last year with eighth place.