Max Cook finishes a career best 8th at Red Bull Rookies season opener!

May 9, 2019

Red Bull Rookies

Max Cook looked a changed rider on his return to the Red Bull Rookies championship putting in two brilliant performances at Jerez to get his season off to a good start. Although the results could have been better, Max‘s confidence and general on track presence are what we saw glimpses of during 2018 and it became quickly apparent that he has taken last years’ experience and put it into very good practice!

After Max’s brilliant rides at Red Bull Ring and Sachsenring last year, amongst others, it was clear one day he would be competing at the front of the field and that time came at the very start of the season. This season presents a huge opportunity for Max to demonstrate his skills in front of the MotoGP paddock and thousands of fans not only around the circuit but watching online and there’s no doubt he is quite literally grabbing his Red Bull KTM by the horns this year.

Max got his weekend off to a good start with eighth place in qualifying leaving him in the middle of row three for the start of both races. Being towards of the front is crucial in a series like this which can sometimes see a front pack break away leaving the rest of the field to sort themselves out.

Race one saw Max get a good start and get straight up to fifth place in what was a fairly hectic opening lap at times. In the midst of all of it Max had his elbows out and took his chances when they came to stick himself right in the middle of the lead battle. Three laps in and Max looked in a great position with the lead group as close as ever with Max looking particularly strong on the brakes. But his good start was unfortunately a little too good meaning he would have to serve a ride through penalty.

A small roll a fraction of a second before the start meant Max had no choice but to come in and it was a huge blow for Max who looked set for a great race for the podium. By this time many would have thrown in the towel but Max came out as determined as he was when the lights went green and utilised his braking to pull off a sequence of moves that saw him calve through the field.  

Over the remaining twelve laps Max moved up from nineteenth to an impressive eleventh setting times that would’ve kept him firmly in that lead group. It was a fantastic recovery ride giving Max points on the board although he was very much aware it could have been a lot better.

Race two saw Max get a good clean start moving straight up to sixth position at turn one. Placed in the middle of a lead group of twelve battles ultimately ensued and a mistake from a rider ahead saw the top three break away leaving Max now in a battle for fourth rather than first.

The chasing pack slowly became the main focus of attention particularly during the middle phases of the race with Max leading the pack at times and dropping all the way to the back at others. Heading towards the end of the race Max had built up enough knowledge to form a plan to steal what would become third at the final corner after race leader Baltus had crashed ahead on the final lap.

Executing it perfectly Max lay fifth going into the final corner which he knew would be enough to steal third in the slipstream down to the line. But as much as he could control what he was doing he could do nothing to prevent the rider ahead from slowing up on the apex which cost him on acceleration out of the final corner and dropped him to eighth place. A text book defence or a slight mistake, whatever it was it cost Max dearly and he would have to be satisfied with eighth place. It was a fantastic ride and result even with the last corner misfortunes.

Max Cook: “I’m coming away from Jerez feeling good that I was in the front group in race one and could have achieved my first podium if things went to plan. I’m disappointed that my results could have been much better had I not jump started or had a bit of bad luck at the end of race two. But knowing I have the pace and race craft to mix it at the front gives me loads of confidence for the next few rounds and a podium is just around the corner! I’ve learnt lots this weekend. I’ve gone faster and finished higher than I have done before in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup so there’s still lots to smile about coming home. I’d like to say a huge thanks to everyone at the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup for an amazing weekend. My mechanic, helper and guys in tent for a great bike and support all weekend. Finally a big thanks to all my sponsors for getting me here”

The result equals Max’s best ever in the Red Bull Rookies from Sachsenring last season and leaves him tenth in the standings just ten points back from third place. The next round of the season will be at Mugello at the start of June but before then Max will return to the MotoGP paddock at Le Mans for round three of the Moto3 World Junior Championship.