Max Cook chasing top ten finishes in final three rounds

September 27, 2019

Moto3 World Junior Championship

It’s been a season that has seen Max come on leaps and bounds. Racing in his first full season of the FIM CEV Moto3 Junior World Championship has seen Max put up against the World’s best up and coming riders on new tracks and although he hasn’t quite achieved his goal of a top ten finish yet, he has proved on several occasions that he is capable of doing so.

With the championship returning to the track after eleven weeks the remaining three rounds are set to come thick and fast with trips to Jerez, Albacete and Valencia. Max currently sits 24th in the standings out of the 40 plus riders, but there is plenty of room for manoeuvre with 11th place just 17 points ahead.

In this article we will take a look back at the highs and lows of the season so far and what lays ahead in the final three rounds.

Estoril – A positive start

The first round saw Max demonstrate his capabilities on his 2016 Factory Honda in mixed conditions over the weekend. He hit the ground running in the first qualifying session and on a drying track was able to finish an impressive fourth place! But conditions for the second session dried and pushing on a soft rear Max did not see the instructions to come in and pit until five minutes to go and it gave him just one lap to put in a good time where he was able to manage an impressive thirteenth place.

As the race got underway Max was stuck on the outside at turn one dropping him to eighteenth place. In tricky conditions just staying on the bike was a task in itself! Despite it being his first race Max showed no signs of nervousness as he battled for eleventh place eventually going on to finish where he started.

Valencia – Progress halted

On one of the only tracks in the calendar that Max is familiar with, Valencia was a chance to improve further on that positive start in Estoril and perhaps break into the top ten. It started with qualifying where Max would learn some tough lessons. With bike changes not working in his favour combined with a frustrating situation of not clear track time he was left down in 22nd place. The second session would see the track slow down with soaring temperatures making it something to note for future rounds.

One thing his grid position did do was show off his overtaking skills. After dropping to 25th in a hectic opening lap Max stormed through the field to eventually get to eighteenth with three laps to go. Cool under pressure Max picked off three riders in as many laps to take the final point on the final lap of the race! Chances of improving that result in race two were sadly brought to an abrupt end on lap one after Max was forced to take avoiding action at turn eleven after an incident ahead leaving him in the gravel and out of the race.

Le Mans – A French revolution

Although his worst on track finish, Le Mans proved to be one of Max’s highlights of the season so far! On his debut at the circuit Max did not have long to learn it and qualifying proved to be difficult once again with the session being red flagged after just two flying laps had been set by Max leaving him down in nineteenth place.

In wet conditions Max was excited at the prospect of seeing how far up the order he could get and giving it everything on the opening lap he was up to twelfth after just a few corners. But like Valencia he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and had to take avoiding action after an incident ahead which saw him drop to 34th and dead last.

Max had just sixteen laps to catch back up with the field before he could even think about making progress. But the Junior Talent Team rider refused to throw in the towel and on his charge, back through the order set the fastest lap of the race! In sixteen laps Max made sixteen positions to eventually finish eighteenth place! A fantastic ride and one that showed off his true capabilities.

Catalunya – Cooking up a storm

After two races with no points Max was keen to end that trend in Spain, but on a track he has never visited before and in a Spanish dominated grid that was always going to be difficult. Catalunya is an incredibly challenging circuit but Max learned it fast but once again struggled in qualifying and would start both races from 21st place.

Max’s progress in lap times was clear to see in race with the Brit going from 1.7 seconds off the leaders just a couple of tenths! In a hectic race Max had a brief spell fighting for the lead before remaining in the battle for fourth to the flag where he would match his best result of the season with thirteenth. Race two was perhaps even more impressive, from 24th Max moved all the way up to ninth place and at the head of the second group! But on the final lap Max missed a gear which would drop him to thirteenth at the flag. It was nevertheless a sign of progress in a hugely competitive championship!

Aragon – Sweet and sour performance

It was the hottest round of the year which would be a challenge for Max, but the first on track challenge would come in the shape of qualifying. With huge straights, it is crucial to slipstream in qualifying which can sometimes make it a bit of a lottery as to who finishes where. On this occasion Max’s numbers, would not come up after being delayed in session one before finishing an impressive ninth in session two putting Max 20th overall.

It was a Moto3 race that should have seen almost the entire field battling for the lead, but strangely that would not be the case with a huge spread quickly forming. But Max still had his eye on a points finish and nine laps in Max was into fifteenth, but with everyone around desperate to take that from him Max was eventually forced out and would have to settle for sixteenth place.

What next?

There are now three rounds remaining at Jerez, Albacete and Valencia. Max showed good pace at the Red Bull Rookies Cup opener earlier this year and will be hoping to repeat that on track in Moto3 this weekend.