Seventh front row for Miguel Oliveira


Red Bull KTM Ajo rider takes third position in qualifying for Malaysian Grand Prix. Karel Hanika and Brad Binder to start from fifth and sixth row, respectively.

Oliveira, Moto3, Malaysian MotoGP 2015

Oliveira, Moto3, Malaysian MotoGP 2015

After leading the qualifying session almost from the start with a great lap, Miguel Oliveira only missed out on pole position at the Sepang International Circuit after the chequered flag had fallen. A start from third position on the grid tomorrow for the Malaysian Grand Prix will be the seventh front row for the Portuguese this season. Karel Hanika, fourteenth, and Brad Binder, sixteenth, will take off from the fifth and sixth rows, respectively. All positions are somewhat provisional, as penalties for different riders could alter final grid for tomorrow in the coming hours.

The Red Bull KTM Ajo trio were able to improve their times from yesterday in the final practice session of the weekend. Brad Binder, the first to do this, was fast from the start. He improved further at the end of the session, working together with Miguel Oliveira. The South African –2:13.268– was eventually fifth, with Oliveira setting a time of 2:12.957 to enter into the Top 3. Karel Hanika placed fifteenth –2:13.785.

Oliveira decided to push from the opening minutes of the qualifying session. This  allowed him to set his best lap of the weekend –2:12.893– 8 minutes in, and he led the way until after time had elapsed and two riders overtook him with their final laps. Working together, Hanika and Binder –with times of 2:13.641 and 2:13.745– completed the session in fourteenth and sixteenth place, respectively.

The Moto3 race will be held tomorrow at 12pm local time, 5am in Europe (CET). Oliveira, Binder and Hanika will try to fight for a podium and a victory, which the team last earned in Malaysia through Luis Salom in 2013.

Results (Qualifying practice)
1. Niccolo Antonelli (Honda) 2:12.653
2. Jorge Navarro (Honda) 2:12.700 +0.047
3. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:12.893 +0.240
4. Efren Vazquez (Honda) 2:12.956 +0.303
5. Jakub Kornfeil (KTM) 2:12.987 +0.334
14. Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:13.641 +0.988
16. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:13.745 +1.092

Miguel Oliveira,
“The QP today went quite well. I had a really bad last stint, because as I was first from the early stages, everyone wanted to catch a tow from me. I had my good lap from the first stint in the bag, so I could play around with things. I’m happy with the result, although I think at this circuit it is not as important to start from the front row. However, this will help us to get away from traffic on the early laps, even though I think the race will be in a group. Tomorrow in the race it will be important not to make mistakes, have fun and deal with the heat as best we can to try to get on the podium.”

Brad Binder,
“The qualifying session did not go as we wanted, because from the first lap I never felt comfortable. We changed the setup from the final practice session and although we improved in some respects, the feeling in general was not the best. I never felt comfortable and despite having tried to solve things throughout the session, I could not do any more. I never managed to set several consecutive laps at a good pace. Tomorrow we will try to forget about qualifying and start well, because I feel able to be in the leading group in the race.”

Karel Hanika,
“Today was a good day, because my feeling on the bike was much better than yesterday. We have improved the setup of the bike, and we only have a few small details to work on. In the final practice session we didn’t go badly and in QP I felt I was faster than many other riders, but I couldn’t set a great lap. I think we could have gotten a better result but eventually the traffic put us down to fourteen. Of course, it could have been better, but we have a good feeling about making up positions tomorrow. It will be important to make a good start to have a great race.”