Third row for Miller in Catalonia


Australian Red Bull KTM Ajo rider qualifies ninth, dropping off the front row for the first time this season. Karel Hanika will start Catalan GP from row five.


The starting grid for the Catalan Grand Prix was decided today, with intense heat continuing to affect things as track temperatures rose to 49ºC. For the first time this season, Moto3 World Championship leader Jack Miller was unable to reserve a spot on the front row; he had to settle for ninth place. His Red Bull KTM Ajo teammate, Karel Hanika, was fifteenth in a good result for his debut at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit.

In the final free practice session, Miller and Hanika rode together in a team effort, in which they determined their setups for tomorrow’s race. Hanika was able to reduce his best time from Friday at the halfway point, whilst Miller did likewise in the final stages. The Australian was tenth -1:51.704- followed by Hanika just 0.002s behind.

Of the two Red Bull KTM Ajo riders, only Miller could set his fastest lap of the weekend in the qualifying session. Despite using new tyres saved for the session, he was unable to set a perfect lap, dropping down to ninth with a time of 1:51.481. Hanika completed his best lap -1:51.812- on his eighth attempt, after being swamped by the typical qualifying cluster.

The seventh race of the year starts tomorrow at 11.00am, local time.

Results – QP
1. Alex Marquez (Honda) 1:50.232
2. Enea Bastianini (KTM) 1:50.850 +0.618
3. Alex Rins (Honda) 1:50.912 +0.680
4. Brad Binder (Mahindra) 1:50.912 +0.792
5. Niklas Ajo (Husqvarna) 1:51.308 +1.076
9. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:51.481 +1.249
15. Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:51.812 +1.580

Jack Miller – Audio (solely for radio use)
“We made a big change to the setup between free practice this morning and qualifying, which worked very well. I went out on used tyres and noticed an improvement right away. In the second stint I put new tyres on and that also went well, although we tried to make a tweak before the final attempt at pole which didn’t go as well as we had expected. It was something I wanted to try, anyway, and we still have a very good setup, so we’re not worried. The gap between us and Marquez is a little large, as he had a very good flying lap, but for the race I’m not stressing out; I think there will be a large group and that things will develop like at previous races.”

Karel Hanika – Audio (solely for radio use)
“I’m happy. It didn’t go badly, but I think I could have done even better in qualifying. This morning we had a good free practice and achieved the same time as in the qualifying session. For much of the session I was in a position that would have allowed me to get onto the second row, but in the end the other riders were tailgating one another and looking for a slipstream, whilst my tyres went off. Fifteenth place isn’t bad and I can have a good race tomorrow. The differences are quite small and we could see a similar race to Mugello, because there’s also a very long straight here. I think I can be up there and fight for a good result.”