Second row for Miller at Brno


World Championship leader improves his times from yesterday and will go start tomorrow’s race from sixth. Hanika places 17th in a qualifying session marked by interruptions.


An incident-packed qualifying session decided the grid for Czech Pepublic Grand Prix at Brno. Rain and a red flag to repair an airfence prevented the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders from performing to their best this Saturday, Jack Miller was nevertheless able to set his best lap of the weekend and take a spot on the second row. Meanwhile, Karel Hanika will start from the sixth row tomorrow for his home Grand Prix, after taking the seventeenth fastest time.

It is the circuit where he has ridden the most, but Karel Hanika has still been able to improve his times in each of the practice sessions disputed so far. In the last practice, held this morning, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rookie placed fifth with a 2:08.543 time, slower than his teammate by a thousandth of a second. Miller, fourth, was unable to best his times from Friday, but virtually matched them with a 2:08.542 on colder asphalt (19ºC).

The sky threatened rain for the qualifying session, and a shower did not take long in coming. Eight minutes in, the first drops of rain fell on the the Czech track. This sent the riders back to the pits, in a situation repeated twice more throughout the 40 minutes: Once for rain and once for a red flag. These interruptions and traffic on track left the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders unable to feel comfortable, as they attempted to work together as a team. In the end Miller set the sixth fastest time of 2:08.122, with Hanika seventeenth with a 2:08.861 after he crashed on his final lap.

The eleventh race of the season will start at 11:00am on Sunday. Miller will attempt to become the winningest Australian in the history of the lower cylinder class, whilst Karel Hanika will be trying for a strong result in front of his home fans.

Results – Qualifying practice
1. Alex Marquez (Honda) 2:07.691
2. Isaac Viñales (KTM) 2:07.914 +0.223
3. Niccolo Antonelli (KTM) 2:08.006 +0.315
4. Alex Rins (Honda) 2:08.051 +0.360
5. Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra) 2:08.095 +0.404
6. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:08.122 +0.431
17. Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:08.861 +1.170

Jack Miller >> Audio (solely for radio use)

“The biggest problem today was the traffic. As we saw, we were not the only other riders to have been bothered by it. It was a little crazy, but we did the best we could. Perhaps we should have picked a harder compound for the final run, because I felt more comfortable every time with it, but we thought that to try to get a fast lap the soft compound would be better. It did not work as expected, but for tomorrow we have a good feeling and a good pace and I think we will have a good race.

We start from sixth, which isn’t too far back, and it’s just a pity that Karel [Hanika] is down in 17th. He did not have much luck with the weather and how things went at the end of the session.”

Karel Hanika >> Audio (solely for radio use)

“It was an unfortunate session for us, I think. We did not get the position we wanted, but I don’t think we started badly. However, after the rainfall the conditions were not good and it was a little bit of a stressful time, with many riders on track. The last ten minutes, conditions improved and I wanted to push, but I went too hard and on my first lap I made a small mistake -then I suffered the crash afterwards. I’m sure that if I had made the most of those hot laps I would have finished in the top 10, but now we have to work ahead of the race.

If tomorrow I can set two good laps early on, then I can have a good race. I am confident that I can take consistently fast times at home. If we do this, then I’m sure the race will be good for us.”