Hanika and Oliveira start amongst the Top 5 in Argentina


Karel Hanika, third, and Miguel Oliveira, fifth, make a good start to the Red Bull Grand Prix of Argentina. Brad Binder places twelfth on the first day.


Just a week on from their most recent race, the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders were back on their bikes this Friday to begin the third round of the year: The Red Bull Grand Prix of Argentina. Karel Hanika made his best start to a weekend so far this season, placing third fastest (on a tie-break with the rider in second place). Miguel Oliveira was fifth on Friday and Brad Binder twelfth. All three improved their times in each of the two free practice sessions held at the Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit.

As happened last year, the Moto3 riders had to start out by cleaning the dusty surface and laying down rubber in order to provide grip. Despite taking the first 40 minutes on track with some caution, Oliveira was the first to lead the timesheets. In the end, the Portuguese was fourth -with a 1:52.000 lap-, Hanika ninth -thanks to a 1:52.206 lap- and Binder fifteenth with his 1:52.664 best.

With much more grip on the track after sessions for MotoGP and Moto2, and less wind, the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders quickly improved their previous top laps in the second runout. First Binder and later Hanika led the session in the opening minutes. The Czech rider was again the fastest with 3 minutes remaining, showing that he has a good feeling with the track. The final timesheet saw Karel Hanika third -1:49.565-, Oliveira fifth -1:49.875- and Binder twelfth -1:50.338. Hanika’s time was exactly the same as Livio Loi’s in second place, but his rival was awarded the position due to having a quicker second-fastest lap.

At 12:35pm local time on Saturday, qualifying for the third round of the season takes place. Last year the Red Bull KTM Ajo team took pole position through Jack Miller.

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Danny Kent (Honda) 1:49.154
2. Livio Loi (Honda) 1:49.565 +0.411
3. Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:49.565 +0.411
4. Enea Bastianini (Honda) 1:49.659 +0.505
5. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:49.875 +0.721
12. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:50.338 +1.184

Miguel Oliveira,
“The free practice sessions went well today, because we greatly improved our lap times from the first to the second session. The overall position is not bad, but we finished a little further back than we had hoped. Tyre selection is a bit tricky, because we don’t have many soft options to use. We need to do more laps with used tyres.

I think I can improve some aspects of my riding on track, and likewise the bike can also be improved a little more. I’m going to concentrate on having a good third practice session tomorrow and trying to get a good grid position in qualifying.”

Brad Binder,
“Today has been bit of a difficult day for us. The feeling was not bad, but I had to fight a bit to turn the bike in and I was not entirely comfortable with the front end. In the second session we improved things, since I had more grip. I’m sure that over the weekend it will continue improving because there will be more rubber on track. The overall feeling is not bad, but we have to work a bit more with the dry setup and I’m sure that tomorrow we can take a step forward.”

Karel Hanika,
“I think it was a very good first day of the Grand Prix for me and my team here in Argentina. From the beginning we were very focused and fast on track, trying to do our job as best we could and improving my riding. The team have done a great job with the setup, and with small changes we have achieved greater stability for the bike when cornering. That was a big step forward for the second session. At the end I went out by myself and set some very fast laps. If we continue with the same pace tomorrow, we can obtain some very good results -I hope that is the case. I am already looking forward to getting back on the KTM.”