Max Cook’s inspired performance at Le Mans

May 20, 2019

Red Bull Rookies

‘Never give up’ is a phrase that has rang true on more than one occasion for Max Cook in 2019 and he was forced to dig deep once again at Le Mans. Racing at round three of the FIM CEV Moto3 World Junior Championship, the Junior Talent Team rider was back in the MotoGP paddock for a second round on the bounce and once again impressed even if the results would suggest otherwise.

It was Max’s debut on the famous Bugatti Circuit and was one that seemed to fit him perfectly. Fast and flowing and chances to show off how he good is at both passing riders and defending positions. However, Max wouldn’t have long to learn the circuit ahead of the all important qualifying session which would lead us into the one and only race of the weekend.

Not for the first time this season, qualifying proved to be difficult with Max being affected by a red flag. It sadly appears to be a reoccurrence for Max who has yet had the chance to prove what he can do over one lap. On this occasion the red flag flew just after Max had completed one lap on a new set of tyres. It was bad timing, with Max only having two or three laps remaining before the session ended to set a time, but the red flag cost him the chance and left him down the field. But Max has been great in first lap situations this season and was not writing off his chances even from nineteenth on the grid!  

As ever Max was on fire during the first lap chaos in the wet conditions. Whilst other splayed it safe Max was is no mood to wait around and was as high as twelfth until he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Three wide into the turn seven chicane two riders alongside made contact and went down leaving Max having to take avoiding action. Overall Max did a great job not to hit any of the two bikes and more importantly riders with his teammate laying in the gravel just ahead of him!

After going through the gravel and grass and somehow still up on two wheels Max first had to get past the safety car before even thinking about anyone else which shows just how far back he was when he re-joined the track. Now 34th and dead last it was time for Max to press on with just sixteen laps to recover.

Once back with the pack Max quickly started to pick his way through the field making some fantastic moves despite the difficult conditions. Max’s fast progress was solidified as he set the fastest lap of the race halfway through setting a 1’51.603. Max’s consistency saw him lapping faster than the race leaders on several occasions despite having to pass riders almost every lap. It was fantastic pace which only left Max and the team thinking what could have been.

In total Max would pass sixteen riders in as many laps to finish the race eighteenth place and only lost a total of six seconds to race winner and teammate Yuki Kunii. A remarkable effort considering he found himself in the gravel on the opening lap. When it came to fastest laps Max lay sixth in the standings and after getting up to twelfth halfway through lap one it begs the question where Max could have finished by the end of sixteen laps.

It was unfortunately no points for Max at Le Mans but there were lots of positives to take away and all he needs now is a break to get the chance to show everyone what he can really do!

Max will remain in the MotoGP paddock for his next race as he heads to the famous Mugello circuit in Italy for round two of the Red Bull Rookies Cup. Currently tenth in the standings and just ten points back from third, things ar ecertainly all to play for!