Red Bull KTM Ajo looking to consolidate improvements in France13/05/2015
Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder look to score second consecutive podiums this weekend at Le Mans. Karel Hanika will ride his KTM despite undergoing surgery last week.
The two podiums achieved in Spain -and especially the findings of the subsequent day of testing- allow the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders to reach the French Grand Prix with their best feeling since the season started. The historic Bugatti circuit at Le Mans, a ‘stop and go’ track, is a venue that will test the improvements made by Miguel Oliveira, Brad Binder and Karel Hanika after Jerez. The young Czech rider will take part in this fifth round of the calendar, despite undergoing surgery on his right hand last Wednesday.
Oliveira’s second place and third for Binder at Jerez were a final boost for the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders’ confidence. Both the Portuguese and South African took their first podium finishes of the year in Spain, and will be determined to do well at Le Mans. Despite two front rows in France, Oliveira’s best result has been ninth place (2011), and Binder’s eighth in 2013.
Karel Hanika is not set to have an easy weekend. After undergoing surgery last week on the scaphoid of his right hand, the Czech rider has made a huge effort to be fit for round five. However, this setback is added to by the fact that he will have to leave from pitlane on Sunday, as punishment for an incident at the Spanish GP that incurred a 5-point penalty.
The schedule for the Grand Prix will be the usual one for European rounds, with the Moto3 race at 11:00am local time on Sunday. Last year, Jack Miller took victory for Red Bull KTM Ajo at Le Mans.
Circuit information – Le Mans
Length: 4.185 metres / 2.600 miles
Width: 13 metres
Left corners: 5
Right corners: 9
Longest straight: 674 metres / 0.419 miles
“We’re on our way to Le Mans and we’re highly motivated after the second place in Jerez –that result really boosted our spirits. I would say that Le Mans is a very ‘European’ circuit, since it is wide like Jerez and has very hard braking points. It’s a very twisty track, where slipstreaming doesn’t have the same impact as at other circuits. The team have been working well, and we hope to keep strong at Le Mans and continue to improve the bike further. We’re working every day towards victory, and that’s what we need to keep doing. We’ll try to maintain our form from Jerez and, as always, try our best to take home a positive result.”
“The truth is that I feel very confident for this weekend at Le Mans. At each race we’ve contested this year, both the team and I have been taking steps forward. In addition, the testing day last week in Jerez helped us to make some of the biggest progress yet with the setup of the KTM. I feel strong and am ready to face this Grand Prix. Le Mans is one of the tracks that I enjoy the most. It is a ‘stop and go’ circuit with strong braking. I think that I can give a good showing and hope to be in the fight for the win, like at Jerez.”
“Without a doubt this Grand Prix will be difficult, both for me and for the team, but that does not mean we will not be pushing as always for the best result. To begin with, we will start the race from the pitlane after the penalty I received at Jerez, and I regret that incident deeply. Also, my wrist is still not 100%, although I think the doctors did a great job and thanks to them I can ride. Big thanks goes out to them. We must continue working as we have been doing so far, because I’m sure we can get a good result. Maybe this weekend we won’t be in the leading group, but we have to work hard so that we can do well at the coming races. The circuit is very nice and last year I set some good times there, so we know how to do it.”