Red Bull has taken the decision to trim the 2009 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup to eight races at six rounds and cancel the 2009 Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup completely following a 'significant reduction of support by a major partner'.

At a time when companies the world over are bracing themselves for the effects of recession, Red Bull claims to have shouldered as much of the load as possible to cover both the technical as well as operational efforts of running the MotoGP Cup, but that there 'would simply not be enough spares and technical support to keep the U.S. series at a high level in 2009'. Red Bull Rookies machinery is provided by KTM.

But the Rookies Cup will at least continue and the aim remains to give as many riders as possible the chance to progress towards the highest level of grand prix racing. Red Bull wished to thank Alpinestars and Dorna for their unwavering support in these difficult circumstances and 'deeply regrets the unavoidable disappointment to those involved in the U.S. Cup'.

Among those sure to be disappointed are 1993 500cc world champion and Red Bull AMA Rookies rider coach Kevin Schwantz, who earlier this week told just how much he enjoyed working with the Rookies:

"The Red Bull Rookies Cup is some of the most enjoyable stuff I have done in my racing career," said the Texan. "There is world championships, winning races and scoring lap records, but watching the excitement on these kids' faces, riding with them, helping them and watching them come back in saying 'what you told me really helped', really puts a smile on my face. It is so much fun. I have never ridden a 125GP bike before and it is a learning experience for me too. I am usually on a track that I know, so at the start of the session I can have my way, but by the end I am struggling to stay in top ten as far as times go. It is a learning experience, but it is so rewarding to help kids be who they want to be.

"Each kid is so different. We have nine kids coming back from last year and 15 new ones, so I have to learn who they are and help them understand what I'm saying. Each kid has that certain desire and they all want it bad, but it can depend on their upbringing and experience. Sometimes it seems the natural kids are the ones who haven't been road racing for long but come in and pick it up really quickly."

Meanwhile, based on their success in the 2008 AMA Rookies Cup, two riders - series champion Benny Solis of North Hollywood, Calif., and Hayden Gillim, of Owensboro, Ky. - have advanced to compete on the world stage in the 2009 MotoGP Rookies Cup.

The Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, which uses identical 125cc KTM machines, will thus enter its third season in 2009 and be contested at the following grands prix:

May 2nd / 3rd Jerez Spain (doubleheader)
May 30th Mugello Italy
June 27th Assen Netherlands
July 18th Sachsenring - Germany
July 25th Donington Park England
August 15th /16th Brno Czech Republic (doubleheader)

Two pre-season tests, each lasting two days, are also planned:

March 26th - 27th Estoril Portugal
March 30th - 31st Jerez Spain