Miller keeps up front row form

31/05/2014

Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Jack Miller places second for sixth front row start of 2014. Rookie teammate Karel Hanika places seventh, with his best World Championship qualifying session to date.

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A magnificent sunny second day at the Italian Grand Prix brought good results for Red Bull KTM Ajo on Saturday. Current Moto3 World Championship leader Jack Miller was second fastest in qualifying, earning a sixth consecutive front row start of the year. Karel Hanika had the best qualifying showing of his rookie season to date, taking seventh in the session and bagging a spot on row three.

The final free practice session was an interesting one for the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders, who made the most of the pleasant conditions to ride faster than on Friday. Miller led the way for a large part of the 40 minutes, eventually taking fourth thanks to a 1:58.298 lap midway through the session. Having learnt the track on Friday, Hanika dedicated the session to setting up his KTM, dropping 9 tenths from his best time from the previous day to place fourteenth (1:59.119).

Qualifying took place under the best conditions of the weekend so far, with the track temperature up to 36ÂșC. It was a session that saw a marker laid down with Alex Rins’ 1:56.999 lap halfway through, and Miller tried time after time to beat the provisional pole lap. Heavy traffic in the final 10 minutes of the session made things even tougher, and it took a great 1:57.264 lap to put the Australian second. Teammate Hanika pulled a final rabbit out of the hat with his final hot lap, setting an excellent 1:57.937 time for seventh on the grid.

Jack Miller will be starting the third Italian Grand Prix of his career tomorrow. With three wins and a podium from five rounds, the Australian is looking to extend his lead at the head of the overall standings. Hanika will be racing at Mugellofor the first time, and will try to learn as much as possible in the leading group.

Results – Qualifying Practice
1. Alex Rins (Honda) 1:56.999
2. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:57.264 +0.265
3. Jakub Kornfeil (KTM) 1:57.326 +0.327
4. Romano Fenati (KTM) 1:57.435 +0.436
5. Alexis Masbou (Honda) 1:57.580 +0.581
7. Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:57.937 +0.938

Jack Miller >> Audio (solely for radio use)

“This second position is a good result for tomorrow’s race. I think in the race will be important to have this position high up on the grid. It was a shame, because I thought I could have got pole position because I had the speed. I am calm though, because I gave it 100% in trying.

We lacked a bit of space and time at the end of the session. Still, I’m happy and I have to thank the whole team. From FP3 to qualifying we took a big step forward with the bike, and during qualifying we were also improving all the time. There was a big difference. So I can only thank them for their great effort. They are doing a great job.

Now we have to focus on the race. I am a little concerned about the battles and the chaos that we are sure to see. The race will be quite similar to other ones, like Le Mans or Jerez. It will be a great battle with a large group packed together. I hope we can do a great job and we’ll see where we are at the end.”

Karel Hanika >> Audio (solely for radio use)

“I think we didn’t start too well the qualifying session, because I was fighting with myself. Later I put in a good lap -not a perfect one- with the changes we had made to the bike. On the last run I was unfortunately out on track by myself; we had wanted to go out alongside Jack, but we still had to make some small changes to the bike and that is why we were delayed. Luckily, Jack caught me on the straight on the last lap and I slotted in behind him. That was when I set my best time and I am very happy with it.

The main goal for tomorrow is to finish the race, as we were unable to do at Le Mans. I’ll take the opportunity to learn as much as possible for as long as I am up at the front. Maybe we can’t be there for the whole race, but in the early stages we can. I will try to do my best.”

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