Red Bull KTM Ajo ready for first QP of the year


Miguel Oliveira, Brad Binder and Karel Hanika improve their times from the first night in Qatar and end the practice sessions with the third, eighth and eighteenth best laps, respectively.


This Friday night in Qatar saw the third and final free practice session for the first Grand Prix of the year. The three Red Bull KTM Ajo riders lowered their lap times from yesterday, showing improvement in each of the sessions. For the second straight night, Miguel Oliveira was one of the Top 3 fastest riders, setting the third best lap and just 0.097 off the top spot. Brad Binder climbed to eighth, while Karel Hanika was eighteenth.

Only 40 minutes of work time was available to the lower cylinder class on the second night of the Qatar Grand Prix. Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Portuguese rider, like yesterday, led the timesheets from the start. Always riding alone and finding his pace, Oliveira was able to set his best lap so far -2:06.510- with five minutes remaining. Less than half a second behind -2:06.939- was teammate Binder, who entered the Top10 with eighth place. Hanika dropped below the 2:08 barrier for the first time, with a 2:07.681 for eighteenth.

Tomorrow sees one of the highlights of the weekend: The Moto3 qualifying session. From 6pm local time, the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders will chase the first pole position of the season.

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2-FP3)
1. Danny Kent (Honda) 2:06.413
2. Hiroki Ono (Honda) 2:06.499 +0.086
3. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:06.510 +0.097
4. John McPhee (Honda) 2:06.533 +0.120
5. Fabio Quartararo (Honda) 2:06.565 +0.152
8. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:06.939 +0.526
18. Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:07.681 +1.268

#44 Miguel Oliveira

“The day went very well. We finished the session in third place. At the end I could not catch any slipstream, but that’s good because it means we can still gain a few tenths and that is important. We are on the right track, and in the qualifying session we will push strongly to find a good time, because we know that the other riders also will try this. The objective must be to get onto the first or second row, to have a place where there is not too much traffic. I think we are ready to compete.”

#41 Brad Binder

“Today went much better than yesterday. When I started, I already noticed a better feeling with the front. I had a small problem when braking hard with the rear. On the second stint, when we changed an important aspect of the setup we improved a lot, but when I pushed hard, we had the same feeling as before. Anyway, we are calm because we know what we have to change, and it is under control. I hope to have a good qualifying session tomorrow.”

#98 Karel Hanika

“Today was a difficult day, because we made some completely different experiments to yesterday and they have not gone as well as expected. For a few laps I struggled a lot, and unfortunately I had to do them alone. Tomorrow in the qualifying session we have to focus on that in order to improve. We have to sit down and see what we have to adjust with the bike and how I can improve my riding style. I think tomorrow will be a better day.”