Oliveira starts out setting the pace


Red Bull KTM Ajo rider sets the fastest time of the first night of the Qatar Grand Prix. Binder and Hanika conclude with the eleventh and seventeenth best times on the combined timesheet.

Miguel Oliveira

The lights of the Losail International Circuit in Qatar were turned on tonight to start the Moto3 World Championship for 2015. In the first two practice sessions of the weekend, Miguel Oliveira had a starring role, setting a great pace and taking the best time of the night. Red Bull KTM Ajo teammates Brad Binder and Karel Hanika also enjoyed a good start, with the eleventh and seventeenth fastest laps, respectively.

It took less than five minutes for Oliveira to take command of the timesheets in the first practice session of the year. The Portuguese gradually kept improving his lap times, ending with a best of 2:06.699. Only Danny Kent was able to bet him, in the last minute and by 98 thousandths of a second. Binder went from strength to strength in the 40-minute session, finishing with the fifth fastest time -2:07.748- while Hanika dedicated the session to find a positive feeling and placed 23rd with a 2:09.305.

In the second session the dynamics were the same, with the Portuguese rider the fastest from the early going. However, this time, a final lap of 2:06.580 undertaken completely by himself made him the quickest of the night. Meanwhile, Hanika was among the first to improve his time from the first session, taking sixteenth with a 2:08.119. Binder was fifteenth with a 2:07.961 but was unable to up his pace from FP1.

Tomorrow, Oliveira, Binder and Hanika will be back on their KTM bikes to contest a third and final free practice session, from 7:00pm local time.

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:06.580
2. Danny Kent (Honda) 2:06.601 +0.021
3. Niccolo Antonelli (Honda) 2:06.759 +0.179
4. Isaac Viñales (Husqvarna) 2:07.200 +0.620
5. Romano Fenati (KTM) 2:07.377 +0.797
11. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:07.748 +1.168
17. Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:08.119 +1.539

#44 Miguel Oliveira

“The first night was very good. It’s always good to finish the first day at the front, but we are keeping our feet on the ground, because we know that times will improve tomorrow. We must keep going and improve further because we have not yet matched the time from last year and we are aiming to improve on it. Today the track was in good conditions right from the first session, as it offered very good grip and there was no wind. We have not adjusted much with the bike, but enough so that tomorrow we can improve even more.”

#41 Brad Binder

“I am excited to begin the season. The first practice session went quite well; at first it was a little hard but in the end I was able to do a long run and I tried to improve with every lap. It was a very good start, I felt comfortable on the bike and enjoyed riding.

FP2 did not go so well, because basically I kept the same tyres for almost the entire session. When I put on new tyres, five minutes from the end, I started to see raindrops on my visor and the bubble of the bike. I decided not to risk it, because the track was not in conditions for me to go fast.

Although I didn’t end up with a good position, this does not worry me because I know that if I could ride as I know how, I would have been higher up.”

#98 Karel Hanika

“For the first day, it has not gone badly. We dedicated the day to getting back used to riding on a dry track, because it’s been a while. In the first session we spent our time finding a good setup and we tried to improve it ahead of the second session. Currently we are on the right way, because we have improved in each stint, and this is the most important thing. If we continue to work well, then on the big night this weekend we can be up at the front; that’s the goal. Our work so far is good and I want to thank the team, because I am very happy. I just need more laps to get more used to the circuit and go faster.”