In 2015, an ambitious and talented Dutch teenager wrote himself into the record books of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, the 13-round road racing series run parallel with the MotoGP World Championship.
Bo Bendsneyder, a 16-year-old from Rotterdam, was by far and away the most outstanding rider in this annual competition tasked with nurturing tomorrow’s road racing champions.
At the end of the 13-round series, Bendsneyder had won more races in a single season than any Rookie before him. He had already sealed the title in the eleventh round in at the San Marino GP in Misano. He then went to the final two rounds in Aragon to wrap up his season in the same style. But his plans were disrupted when he was involved in a four-rider crash and in the final round, riding with an injured wrist, he was only able to finish ninth. Despite a bumpy end to a near perfect season, Bendsneyder still finished with a 49-point lead.
Reflecting back on the 2015 season of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, Bendsneyder’s was no ordinary victory. Until now the series had always delivered tight, highly competitive riding that often saw a nail-biting, multi-rider charge for the finish. The Dutch rider set new standards. His season started with a double victory in Jerez and continued with a string of five consecutive wins. Another three in the second half of the season gave him a total for eight, the most won by any Rookie in a single year. He secured 11 of the 13 available pole positions and finished second in the remaining two qualifiers. He leaves the competition with a total of nine wins, including one at home in Assen in his debut year of 2014.
Bendsneyder is now expected to move up to Moto3 in the 2016 season. In doing so he would follow six other former Rookies Cup winners who now compete in Moto3 or Moto2. The two former US winners have gone on to successful racing careers at home.
In 2015 the Rookie that was most successful in taking the challenge to Bendsneyder was Italian teenager Fabio Di Giannantonio, who won three of the races that eluded the Dutch teenager and finished second to him on four other occasions. The remaining races went to Japanese rider Ayumu Sasaki (Silverstone) and Spaniard Marc Garcia (Aragon).
The Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup goes into its 10thseason in 2016 and during that time has delivered an impressive stream of riders to the MotoGP classes. The competition is now firmly established as a perfect training ground for ambitious young riders who aspire to an international racing career. The annual Selection Event for candidates for the 10th edition of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup is in two week’s time.
Final Standings Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup after 13 of 13 rounds
1. Bo Bendsneyder (NED), 243 points (Cup winner) 2. Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA), 194 3. Ayumu Sasaki (JAP), 161 4. Marc Garcia (ESP), 151 5. Oscar Gutierrez (ESP), 148