Qualifying practice against the clock for Red Bull KTM Ajo16/05/2015
Miguel Oliveira to start from the third row after a qualifying session cut short by rain after 5 minutes. Karel Hanika and Brad Binder go 24th and 25th fastest, respectively.
An unusual qualifying session decided the grid positions for the French Grand Prix, as early rainfall meant riders had only one or two attempts at a hot lap. Miguel Oliveira was the highest placing Red Bull KTM Ajo rider with eighth position, whilst Brad Binder had to settle for a spot on the ninth row. Karel Hanika, who has to start from pit lane for this Grand Prix, set the 24th quickest time.
Progressing steadily despite track temperatures of just 12°C, the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders went out this morning with a strong pace. During the first part of the final practice session, Hanika was up in the Top 5, whilst Oliveira climbed positions to get closer to the front. Preparing for qualifying, Oliveira and Hanika made an excellent last stint to close FP3 in 3rd and 7th place, respectively. A little further back, Brad Binder finished in twelfth place.
The qualifying session began with maximum caution shown. After just three minutes, light rain began to fall on Le Mans, throwing plans into disarray. With delicate track conditions, Binder suffered a light crash at Turn 12. Without wishing to take unnecessary risks, the riders then headed back to the pits to conclude the qualifying session. Thus, Miguel Oliveira will start from 8th position and Brad Binder from 25th. Karel Hanika, 24th in the qualifying session, will start tomorrow from pitlane after the sanction received at the Spanish GP.
The Moto3 race will be held tomorrow at 11:00am local time.
Results (Qualifying practice)
1. Fabio Quartararo (Honda) 1:44.763
2. Jorge Navarro (Honda) 1:44.885 +0.122
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Mahindra) 1:45.457 +0.694
4. Jakub Kornfeil (KTM) 1:45.575 +0.812
5. Romano Fenati (KTM) 1:45.665 +0.902
8. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:46.011 +1.248
24. Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:48.380 +3.617
25. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:48.402 +3.639
“To tell the truth, although I know that the conditions are the same for us all, not being able to ride is disappointing. This morning we had a good feeling with the bike and we had improved the setup; in the afternoon we wanted to confirm some of this work we had done, but we could not do so. At Jerez I was not 100% but this morning I felt that I had a good pace. We did not use the soft tyre because we were going to save them for qualifying. In the end we have not fully confirmed everything we wanted, but starting from eighth with these conditions is not bad. It isn’t ideal, but we will try to have a smart race and try to take advantage of having very fast riders behind us to move forward.”
“On the first lap I was able to push until another rider cut me off after missing a chicane. I made another attempt but there was much more rain at Turn 12 and I went down. Starting from twenty-fifth position is not the end of the world. Obviously I don’t like starting from so far back, when I had thought I might have been at least amongst the Top10. Unfortunately it will be very hard at first, but I’m confident that if the group does not break from the beginning, we can get to the front. In free practice we saw that we still have to change an aspect of the setup for the race, but we know how to do that.”
“The result is obviously not what we wanted but the position in qualifying has not been important for us. We were concentrating on finding a good setup for the bike in the third practice session and I think it went well. My pace is fast and I think I am one of the fastest for that, so that is more important to me for the race tomorrow -because I’m going to spend much of it trying to make up positions.The work we have done is good, my laps were good and tomorrow I hope I can do likewise in the race. Tomorrow morning I start from pit lane and I will try to do my best. The first laps will be tough because I’ll be alone, but I will concentrate on doing my job and catching those in front of me. If we can score points, it will be like a victory for me.”