The Final Selection Event for the 2009 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup took place on Friday and Saturday at a sunny Estoril.
Riders came from around the world - New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Malaysia and across Europe from Sweden to the Czech Republic - putting 32 young talents on the line at the Portuguese Grand Prix circuit.
Hiroshi Aoyama, KTM's 250 factory star and grand prix winner who finished second at Estoril in 2006, was on hand to give the young riders the benefit of his experience.
"It is very nice to see so many young riders here enjoying themselves," he said. "I have never seen anything like it. We certainly did not have it in Japan when I started riding. There is so much talent here and they are so young, they have so much possibility for improvement it is very difficult to pick the right riders to go forward to the Rookies Cup."
The riders came from very different backgrounds, some with a decent amount of experience on 125 grand prix style machinery, while others had to learn new skills in a short time.
One example was Arthur Sissis, a 13-year-old Australian more accustomed to racing speedway, who thrilled everyone with some sideways moves on the 125.
"It's great to be here, a fantastic experience," he said. "I'm having great fun on the track, it's great. I think the most difficult part is the tight twisty section, that's a real test of skill."
For others the travelling itself was something new, as it was for 16-year-old Malaysian Syafiq Omar.
"This is the experience of a lifetime for me, to come to such a great track and get the international experience," he said. "It is all very new to me and not easy of course but I am learning the bike and the track. It is a lot of fun and I am trying very hard to get into the Rookies Cup, that would be fantastic."
On the other hand some of the youngest participants already have lot of racing under their belt including 12-year-old Briton Fraser Rogers. He has been racing since he was six but said that the Estoril Circuit was the best he has seen.
"I like Anglesea and Donington but this is more fun I think, wicked. It is also more technical and it's warmer here. I like this track's tight twisty corners but it is also flowing," he said.