August 7, 2019
Red Bull Rookies
Regarded as the proving ground for future Moto3 riders, the Red Bull Rookies races all seven of it’s rounds on MotoGP weekends giving the manufacturers a chance to keep tabs on the latest young talents coming through. With all riders selected via qualification test days the final 25 are then given completely equal machinery to race on creating a fully level playing field leaving it all to skill and race craft.
It is a fantastic place to learn your trade and for Max, 2019 was his second season in the championship after being invited back by the organisers. He is the only British rider in the championship making it even more of a privilege. It has left expectations high with Max hoping to get a podium later in the season after achieving a best result of eighth in 2018 at the Sachsenring.
The opening round of the season was very much a case of what could have been for Max. After qualifying eighth Max demonstrated he had the pace to fight with the leaders in the early stages of race one, but a fractional jump start sadly saw him pick up a ride through penalty. His climb back to eleventh left him thinking what could have been, but he still had race two to make amends.
Max once again fought with the leaders in a frantic start to race two, but a mistake from a rider ahead allowed the top three to escape leaving him in the fight for fourth. A tactical performance saw Max climb to fifth by the last corner, but a stern defence from the rider in fourth cost him on the exit dropping him to eighth which matched his best result in the series.
Sadly, Max would never get the chance to show what he could do at Mugello, but one thing he did prove is there nothing that can stop him from racing! After being diagnosed with a gaul bladder infection Max spent lots of time in the medical centre, but with the green light still went out in every session.
He qualified an impressive thirteenth place, but had what I’m sure will be a race he won’t enjoy remembering very much! On lap three Max was sick in his helmet, but still went around a hugely fast and challenging circuit in the gruelling Italian heat. Max even made places as he fought with the pack disputing the podium going on to finish tenth, which would unfortunately become thirteenth after a post-race penalty.
Back at full health for Assen Max was keen to get some good points under his belt and qualifying seventh gave him a good chance at doing just that! The racing was always going to be exciting, but Max would not even get a chance to be involved with much of it in race one after being forced to retire with an electrical fault whilst in sixth place.
However, he would certainly make amends in race two! After dropping to tenth at the start Max calved his way through the chasing pack before catching the leaders all on his own! Slowly he worked his way through the group to run as high as third. It was at this stage Max worked with championship leader, Carlos Tatay, to close the lead pair and make it eight for the lead going into the final two laps.
With one to go and now in fourth Max saw an opportunity approaching the end of the final lap and went for it, diving from fourth to second! But it wasn’t to be as he had to drop back and settle for fourth. It was a record breaking result and some come back after his recent luck.
Germany would once again be a happy hunting ground for Max in the Red Bull Rookies. After qualifying eighth Max fought with the leaders all the way to the end in race one and after saving his tyres he began working his way through the group later in the race but was stopped by a red flag which meant he would finish seventh.
Max knew he had the pace to be on the podium and after the top two got given the chance to escape his task of doing that became even tougher. In a fierce battle for the last step on the podium Max once again waited until the laps had ticked by before making his move and with no red flags he was able execute that plan perfectly going on to finish on the podium from seventh on the final lap!
A stunning performance and a deserved result that had been a long time coming! It leaves Max ninth in the standings just 27 points back from third giving him plenty of opportunity to move up the order.
There are now three rounds remaining at Red Bull Ring, Misano and Aragon. The next round at Red Bull Ring on the 11th August is certainly one Max is looking forward to after showing tremendous pace last year.