Oliveira takes hard fought front row


Red Bull KTM Ajo rider takes third position in qualifying session for Australian Grand Prix. Binder and Hanika go tenth and twelfth, respectively.

Oliveira, Australian Moto3 2015

Oliveira, Australian Moto3 2015

The second day of the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island featured a hard-fought qualifying session, in which the Moto3 riders competed as if it were a race. With no time to relax due to the new regulations for practice sessions, the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders had to find their openings at the short Australian track to achieve their best position possible on the grid. For the sixth race this season, Miguel Oliveira –third– will start tomorrow from the front row whilst Brad Binder –tenth– and Karel Hanika –twelfth– will do so from the third and fourth row, respectively, due to sanctions to other riders.

Binder completed the final free practice session with three fast laps that allowed him to set the best time so far this weekend –a 1:36.519. Sixth, with a 1:37.076, was Oliveira, who again showed he is one of the riders with the best pace riding alone, and sixteenth was Hanika with a 1:37.611.

The new regulations in place forced the Moto3 riders to use new strategies in the 40-minute qualifying session. The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders went out on track together looking for slipstreams –more important than ever because of the wind at the circuit. The trio moved into the Top 5 momentarily with 22 minutes remaining, with Oliveira improving at the end to take third –1:36.606. Hanika was twelfth –1:37.134– and Binder –tenth; 1:37.169– ended his QP with 16 minutes still on the clock, due to a mechanical problem.

The sanction for several riders in qualifying today allows Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder to gain a position on the starting grid. Thus, the South African will start from the third row. The race will be held two hours later than usual –1pm local time, 4am in Europe– and the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders will have the opportunity to repeat the victory achieved by the team courtesy of Jack Miller last year.

Results (Qualifying practice)
1. Danny Kent (Honda) 1:36.180
2. John McPhee (Honda) 1:36.540 +0.360
3. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:36.606 +0.426
4. Efren Vazquez (Honda) 1:36.693 +0.513
5. Jorge Navarro (Honda) 1:36.705 +0.525
10. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:37.134 +0.954
12. Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:37.169 +0.989

Miguel Oliveira,
“The qualifying session went quite well. In the afternoon there was a little more wind, and this made it difficult to ride easily in the 1:36’s. I delayed my last stint as long as possible to find the best gap on track. I was able to set three very good laps, riding virtually alone, and this gives me a lot of confidence going into tomorrow’s race. At this circuit the grid position is not as important, as there is sure to be a large group at the front. There will be parts of the track where there will be a lot of overtaking, so I will try to be as smart as possible on track and fight for another podium finish.”

Brad Binder,
“Today was a positive day for us, but the end result was not what we had expected. This morning I set some very good times riding alone, which gave me great confidence. In the afternoon, there were many people on the track and I could not put in a hot lap without anyone bothering me. Halfway through the session, my bike stopped. Unfortunately, we could not finish. After setting the fastest time in the morning, I would have liked to have fought for the front row, but it was not to be. I thank the team, because they have got the bike to the pits very quickly and tried to set it back up, right until the last moment. It’s better that this happened to us today, rather than tomorrow.”

Karel Hanika,
“In the morning things did not go badly. We started well from the first stint, going fast and setting good times riding alone. This allowed us to find the ideal setup for qualifying. In the qualifying session I put in my best lap at the start, since it’s been a lottery otherwise. At this circuit it is very difficult to set a good lap riding alone, and I could only find a good slipstream on my first stint. On the closing laps, with new tyres, unfortunately I could not find any slipstream and so it only really served to gather information to analyse afterwards. In the end, starting from the fourth row is not a bad position, so I hope for a good race tomorrow.”