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As Max Cook continues his winter training programme we take a moment to look back on a successful 2018 and what lies ahead for the youngster from Swindon in 2019.

At just 16-years-old Cook has already achieved a huge amount in the sport.

He started racing at seven-years-old, passing through the minimotos and metrakits of the Cool FAB British Junior Championships and on to the Aprilia Superteens championship run by Thundersport GB. That was where cilindrada.NET first started to follow his progress. It was 2015 and in his first year of competing in the series he took the title at Donington Park in September.

After going on to dominate the Hel Performance British Motostar standard class series in 2017, with Wilson racing, he was selected to race in the inaugural British talent Cup for 2018. Not only that he was successfully selected from the highly-competitive Red Bull Rookies trial in Spain.

First a look back at 2018

Max Cook had two new championships to compete in but he also made room for three wildcard entries with his old British Moto3 team Wilson Racing.

Looking first at his maiden season in the Red Bull Rookies it was full of tough challenges. Apart from the Ricardo Tormo circuit he had never raced on any of the circuits used by the Red Bull Rookies Cup series. He was also going to be riding against some of the best young riders across the world. For example, he was competing against the very talented Turkish Öncü twins and Spanish rider Xavier Artigas.

Photo: Gold & Goose / Red Bull Pool Content

To get a feel for how good the riders in this category are, Xavier Artigas went on to finish the season third in the Red Bull Rookies but he took the championship title in the European Talent Cup.

Can Öncü and Deniz Öncü finished first and second in the Red Bull Rookies. Can took an incredible five race victories whilst his brother collected three winners’ trophies. Can Öncü also got an opportunity to compete at World Moto3 level with the Red Bull KTM Ajo team. After an impressive qualifying position of fourth he went on to win his very first MotoGP Moto3 category race!

Of the riders and level that Cook is now racing he explained, “It is a different level in terms of how fast the other riders are. At the start I was just like, ‘These kids are just so fast’ but I’ve now accepted that actually I’m one of those kids. I’m here competing for a reason. I am good enough and shouldn’t treat these competitors any different to how I did when I was racing in BSB.”

Max Cook finished 17th overall with 23 points including a top ten finish at the Sachsenring. His performances and attitude were rewarded when he was invited back for a second year in 2019.

“That weekend in Austria was like, I would say it was probably my best race […]I was able to bridge the gap between the second group, which I was in and catch up with the leaders. I was so happy I could do it. I was in the leading pack”, Max Cook told us.

In the British Talent Cup Max Cook was a title contender for the majority of the season. He joined Rory Skinner and Thomas Strudwick as the stand out riders of the championship. He took victory in three races during the year and stood on the rostrum a total of eight times. Despite two DNFs he still had an outside chance of the title going into the final round. In the end he finished third missing out on the runner-up spot by just a point.

Max Cook
(Photo and mechanic: James Ansell on the left). Max Cook being congratulated by Can Öncü at the British Talent Cup round in Valencia

In the Hel Performance British Motostar series Max Cook enjoyed three wildcard rounds racing with his old team Wilson Racing.

They all came at the Brands Hatch circuit which the series visited three times during the season. The first visit was on the Indy track where Max Cook collected two a second place in both race one and race two. In July he scored a third place in the second race and then at the end of the season he won the opening race of the weekend.

2019 Max Cook will race Moto3 Junior World Championship and Red Bull Rookies

If you want to get noticed by the important people in MotoGP then you arguably need to be in either the Red Bull Rookies or the Moto3 Junior World Championship. Well Cook has now got himself, deservedly, in to both championships.

His efforts in the Red Bull Rookies and The British Talent Cup have enabled him to secure the British Talent Team spot in the Moto3 World Junior Championship.

The year will be another tough challenge for Cook. He will clearly be hoping to build on his results in the Red Bull Rookies Cup as well as make an impression in the Moto3 Junior World Championship.

Asking Max Cook about his preparation for the next season he told me, “I went last weekend to spend time with Dani Rivolta at a pre-winter training camp. Three days of cycling in the morning and flat track in the afternoon. The Junior Talent Team do a winter camp which I’m going to next week so it was some extra preparation. I’ve also spent a lot of time at the gym with my trainer Jack in the UK.”

I went on to finish my conversation with Max Cook by telling him that whilst preparing for our chat I had gone over some previous articles and that only in 2015 he was riding and won the Aprilia Superteen Championship. Now he is riding in the Moto3 Junior World Championship and I asked him what does it feel like?

He came back in his usually modest manner by telling me, “It’s really cool. This is where I would want to be. I remember when I was nine years old if I get to the Red Bull Rookies then that is a little dream for me. I would be within reaching siatcne of MotoGP. I don’t feel I have got anywhere yet as anything can happen. So I’ve just got to do my best this year and I will go out and try and impress them this year. It’s just a new challenge. I’m getting closer to my MotoGP dream.”

Whilst Max Cook’s talent, dedication and effort are what will get him as far as he can possibly go, the fact that he is such a nice young man as well, you can’t help but wish him the best.

You can follow Max Cook here on cilindrada.NET as we cover the FIM CEV Repsol and regularly post articles on the Red Bull Rookie championship.

The first Moto3 Junior World Championship race will take part at the Circuito de Estoril on 7th April 2019. The Red Bull Rookies series starts 4th May at Jerez.