Hanika takes first ever front row start26/06/2015
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider takes third in qualifying for Dutch TT. Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder place on second and fourth rows, respectively.
Karel Hanika took his first ever front row start in the Moto3 World Championship by placing third in qualifying for the Dutch TT. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider continued his good work from Thursday, and had led the qualifying session until 5 minutes remained. Teammates Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder found solutions to their setup issues and claimed sixth and eleventh place, respectively, on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
Light rain early in the morning did not prevent the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders from going out with slick tyres. The forty minutes were especially important for Oliveira and Binder –in ninth and sixteenth– who made big changes from Thursday and saw positive progress. Binder lowered his best time by more than a second. Hanika, seventh, also set his best time of the weekend up to that point.
The lap times were smashed just a few hours later in the qualifying session. Hanika and Oliveira were able to break into the 1:41’s for the first time, and it was the Czech rider who led the way with a time of 1:41.683 before the halfway mark of the session. That time would eventually earn him third place. Oliveira was sixth –1:41.805– and Binder eleventh –1:42.278–, giving both a chance of a good race.
Tomorrow will be held the last Moto3 race to be held on a Saturday at Assen, following the announcement of a move to Sunday from 2016. It will take place from 11am. Oliveira was third in last year’s Dutch TT, whilst Hanika achieved two victories at Assen in the 2013 Red Bull Rookies Cup.
Results (Qualifying practice)
1. Enea Bastianini (Honda) 1:41.283
2. Jorge Navarro (Honda) 1:41.618 +0.335
3. Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:41.683 +0.400
4. Danny Kent (Honda) 1:41.699 +0.416
5. Isaac Viñales (Husqvarna) 1:41.794 +0.511
6. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:41.805 +0.522
11. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:42.278 +0.995
“The qualifying session went better, after we had spent the weekend looking for more speed, stability and confidence with the front end. Before the session we made quite a big change and it went well for us. We have a good pace. I did not feel particularly comfortable with the soft tyre and my best time was set with the race compound, which is positive for tomorrow. Tomorrow I will try to fight, be aggressive and consistent and not make mistakes. Although here there are not usually very large groups, I do not think anyone will escape so it will be important to have a good strategy for the final laps.”
“Today I am much happier than yesterday. This morning the bike felt better and I felt much more confident riding. In qualifying I went out and I pushed with everything I could, and lap by lap the feeling got better. Now I am clear about what our strengths are at this circuit and where maybe I will have to go a little more carefully during the race. I will start from eleventh and obviously I would have liked to have placed higher, but compared to other races it is not bad. I am sure I’ll be in the front group and that I will hold on until the end.”
“We tried to set a good time from the beginning and we fitted the soft tyre. The strategy worked quite well because, even though I didn’t put in many fast laps, the point of the qualifying session is to set one quick lap –and that is what we did. For tomorrow we will continue to work on the bike, to conserve the tyres over race distance and be strong on the final laps. It’s been a good day, but there are no points in practice, so we will continue working.”