Up and Coming Irish Motorcycle Racing star Rhys Irwin made an impressive start to his 2018 British Talent Cup journey as the new championship kicked off its calendar with two days of testing at the Valencia MotoGP track in Southern Spain.
Riding a Moto3 bike for the first time, the Donegal teenager put in a strong performance over the two days of testing and left the circuit full of confidence for the opening race event of the season at Donington Park in early April, having exceed all of his targets in terms of performance.
The British Talent Cup is operated by MotoGP promoters Dorna and is a major step up for Rhys in many ways. As a gateway to the Moto3 World championship, riders are expected to perform at a higher level than the Kilmacrennan lad had previously experienced, but his ability shone through as he matched times with the fastest riders, many of whom had extensive previous Moto3 and Valencia circuit experience.
Following an afternoon spent being kitted out and getting to know their mechanics, engineers and rider coaches, the Talent Cup competitors went out on track at the start of day two to become familiar with the bikes they had seen for the first time the previous day. Straight away Rhys felt comfortable on the bike and was unofficially running well inside the top ten all day.
For day two the pressure was upped as official timing was introduced and the riders began to make changes to their machines. Rhys once again was comfortable inside the top ten throughout and finished the penultimate session in fourth place, beaten only by the most experienced Moto3 riders in the field. To finish the day all riders completed a race distance and it was after this that Rhys spoke about his first Talent Cup experience
“I’ve really enjoyed the whole experience and I’m delighted with the way it went” said Rhys. “This is a very serious project by Dorna and there is no room for anything except 100% focus. The bike and circuit were totally new to me and I also had to get used to talking to separate engine, suspension and chassis engineers as well as a rider coach, so I learned a hell of a lot. Going to Spain I knew I was one of the least experienced riders so I was delighted to be as close to the pace as I was. The support of Motorcycling Ireland has been invaluable in the progress I’ve made and having the use of their bike has helped me to hit the ground running. I’m sure I would not have gone so well in Valencia without it. So far I’ve exceed my goals and with Donington Park next on the list, a circuit I know well, I’m looking forward to moving even closer to the front.”
The British Talent Cup kicks off with two races on the support card for the British Superbike Championship’s season opener at Donington Park from March 31st to April 2nd. Following his Valencia success Rhys Irwin will head to the Leicestershire circuit confident that he can to get off to a solid start as he begins his bid to progress into the MotoGP World Championship.