Miguel Oliveira claims first pole position of the year18/04/2015
Miguel Oliveira and Red Bull KTM Ajo took their first pole position of the season at Round 3 in Argentina. The Portuguese set a superb last lap of 1:48.461 in the qualifying session, for his second career pole. His previous qualifying top spot came at the 2013 Dutch TT. Karel Hanika, sixth, starts from his best grid position of the year so far, whilst Brad Binder earned a place on the fifth row with fifteenth.
Oliveira started the day strongly, heading the timesheets after improving his fastest time from yesterday with a 1:49.430. The Portuguese dominated much of the session, also setting a great pace when riding alone. Always close behind was teammate Karel Hanika, who finished the session with the eighth fastest time of 1:49.753. Meanwhile, Brad Binder, twelfth, also improved on his best lap from yesterday by clocking a 1:49.941.
As usual in the timed session, nothing was decided until the final five minutes. Oliveira was the rider who played his cards best on his last lap, pushing harder than ever and taking advantage of groups of riders bunched together to usurp Danny Kent, setting new pole and circuit records of 1:48.461 in the process.
Latched onto him at the finish line was Hanika, who set the sixth fastest time of 1:49.026. Half a second down, with a 1:49.529, was Binder in fifteenth.
With this result, the Red Bull KTM Ajo team have two pole positions from as many visits to the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, after their success at the track last year. The Moto3 Red Bull Grand Prix of Argentina begins at 1pm local time on Saturday.
Results (Qualifying practice)
1. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:48.461
2. Danny Kent (Honda) 1:48.511 +0.050
3. Niccolo Antonelli (Honda) 1:48.665 +0.204
4. Efren Vazquez (Honda) 1:48.729 +0.268
5. Isaac Viñales (Husqvarna) 1:48.883 +0.422
6. Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:49.026 +0.565
15. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:49.529 +1.062
“The qualifying session was a bit strange. At first I was not as fast as I would have liked; I found it hard to set a good pace and a good one-off lap. In the last run I tried to take advantage of a slipstream and go for pole position. It may not be the nicest way to get pole, but I’m very happy for the team. It’s a little reward that I think we deserve after work we have been doing. However, the greatest reward will be getting points tomorrow.”
“Today definitely didn’t go as we had planned. I didn’t have the confidence that I normally have on the bike, and that prevented me from pushing hard. We have to continue working on the setup. My problem is with finding the right line in order to open the throttle in the right position. In any case, I am ready and focused on doing a good job tomorrow in the race.”
“Today was another good day for me and my team, just like yesterday. We did a good job in the third free practice session to change a few things on the KTM and also improve my riding with used tyres. We tried to put in as many kilometres as possible. In qualifying, the strategy was just to set a fast lap. I managed that on my first run. On the second attempt I rode alone and I again set a good lap time, and on my last stint I pushed my hardest for a position high up on the grid. In the end I managed to finish sixth, on the second row, and we’re pretty happy about that. It is a good place from which to start the race. I am confident for the race, because so far this has been my best weekend of the year, and I hope to continue in this way for the rest of the season.”