Swindon Moto 3 star Max Cook made his Red Bull Rookies debut and rated it as one of the “best racing weekends” of his life.
The Red Bull Rookies Championship features 24 of the very best young riders in the world and Cook embarked on his very first race in the series on the back of busy month of racing which included a wild card ride at the British Superbike round at Brands Hatch.
In the first free practice session, the Swindon youngster was fifth fastest after recording a time of 1:50.9 at Spain’s Jerez Circuit, a time he matched during the second session.
With thunderstorms and heavy rain predicted for the qualifying session, Cook waited in the pit lane for the optimum moment to hit the track and early in the session found himself in 21st position.
Cook then repeated his fastest time from free practice, 1:50.9, but it only proved good enough for 20th position before he took 0.4 seconds off that time to move up to 17th on the grid before the rain came down to thwart any further improvement.
With just 0.6 seconds separating positions six to 20, a fiercely competitive first race looked on the cards.
Starting on row six on the grid, Cook made a great start as he immediately gained seven places to slot comfortably into 10th place.
As the race unfolded, the field separated into three groups and Cook was in the thick of the action in group two, battling for ninth place.
Cook led the group for long periods but towards the end of the race the group started to jostle for position with nobody prepared to take the lead in order to maintain the slipstream advantage.
The Swindon rider tried to take advantage of the situation and made a break for the chequered flag with three quarters of a lap to go but unfortunately lost three place after going for an overtake and getting tagged by another rider.
Cook came home in 16th place which was enough to record his first-ever Red Bull Rookies points and recorded a new personal best lap time of 1:50.3.
In race two, Cook looked to improve further on his debut ride and he made another blistering start as he raced up to 11th position within just a few laps.
After lap six Cook found himself in 10th position and still in touch with the leading group as he made a bid for eighth place.
But when lining up his overtake Cook felt something go on the front suspension which upset the front of the bike and saw him lose the front tyre.
Cook managed to save the bike on his knee but with the bike now acting differently, he dropped back 23rd as he took time to assess the situation.
Despite lapping 0.6-0.7 seconds slower than he had been, Cook managed to recover to 20th position which was a fine effort in the circumstances.
Cook remained delighted with his Red Bull Rookies debut, saying: “This weekend has probably been one of the best racing weekends I’ve ever had.
“To be part of the Rookies Cup, at Jerez on a MotoGP weekend is a dream come true.
“I’m really pleased to finish both races, get in the points and I feel I’ve made a big step forward understanding the bike.
“I also feel as though I’ve settled in well as the all the riders here are good fun and I’m getting on well with them, plus the support I’ve had from the coaches, suspension technician and my mechanics has been amazing.
“After this weekend and experiencing the Rookies Cup properly I feel even more motivated to keep improving and I really cant wait for Mugello in a few weeks time.
“I’d like to say thanks to everyone at Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup for an amazing opportunity and also all my sponsors and supporters as I couldn’t do this without their help.”