Miguel Oliveira finishes 2015 as Moto3 World Championship runner-up after Valencia victory


Red Bull KTM Ajo rider completes excellent final run-in with fourth win from last 5 races. Brad Binder places fourth and Karel Hanika crashes out when in the points.

Oliveira, Moto3 race, Valencia MotoGP 2015

Oliveira, Moto3 race, Valencia MotoGP 2015

Miguel Oliveira put in another great performance in the last round of the Moto3 season, claiming his sixth victory of the season at the Valencian GP -his third in succession. The Portuguese managed four wins and two second places from the last six races of the year, taking 140 of the 150 points available, but it was not quite sufficient to win the title. The World Championship crown eventually eluded him by just 6 points. Red Bull KTM Ajo teammates Brad Binder and Karel Hanika took fourth and suffered a highside, respectively, in the season finale.

From the start, Oliveira took the initiative and at all times sought the only result that could possibly lead to him becoming World Champion: First place. He was part of a vibrant battle with the likes of Efren Vazquez, Jorge Navarro and Romano Fenati, exchanging passes before taking the lead for the start of the final lap. From there he left his rivals with no chance, closing every gap to take the chequered flag in first. The only thing to deny him the title was Danny Kent finishing ninth -becoming World Champion by 6 points.

Teammates Brad Binder and Karel Hanika had mixed fortunes in the season finale. After two podiums from the last two races, Binder finished in fourth place and was just a step away from the rostrum. Fighting in the second group and climbing up from twelfth position at the end of Lap 1, the South African benefited from a crash involving three riders on the final corner to claim a positive fourth place. Hanika’s race was cut short on Lap 11, when he lost rear grip exiting Turn 2 and highsided. He was thirteenth at the time.

After an exciting season in which Oliveira took the title fight to the final round, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider says goodbye to Moto3 with second place overall. He earned a total of 254 points in 2015, with 6 wins and a further 3 podiums. Binder ends the year in sixth with 159 points, and Hanika eighteenth, with 43.

Race – Results
1. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 40:09.792
2. Jorge Navarro (Honda) +0.198
3. Jakub Kornfeil (KTM) +2.090
4. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +2.121
5. Enea Bastianini (Honda) +2.975
DNF – Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo)

Moto3 World Championship Standing 2015
1. Danny Kent (Honda) 260 points
2. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 254 points
3. Enea Bastianini (Honda) 207 points
4. Romano Fenati (KTM) 176 points
5. Niccolo Antonelli (Honda) 174 points
6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 159 points
18. Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 43 points

Miguel Oliveira,
“Whoever has the most points wins the championship, and we came very close, but I’m happy with the season we’ve had -especially the last three races. Winning all three has been very good. We have proven to be a great team and the results we have obtained make me optimistic about the new challenges to come in the future. Throughout the year I have not had hardly any head-to-head battles with Kent. It has been a fight at a distance, because we haven’t really coincided at the front much. I have had ups and downs this year, but to end up winning the last three races is a great feat.

I’m happy with today’s win, in a race that was very competitive. I want to thank the whole team, KTM, Red Bull and all the partners for this wonderful season.”

Brad Binder,
“We almost got another podium and I’m happy about that, but on the first lap another rider hit me and I went into the gravel. It was very difficult to catch back up, because I had the front group ahead of me and every time someone dropped back I overtook them, but I couldn’t keep up with the Top 5. In the end I was very lucky, because several riders fell on the last corner and finishing fourth is not a bad result.

However, I hope to do better next year. I want to thank the whole team, everyone at KTM and especially my crew chief Massimo [Branchini], my data engineer, and my mechanics, because they have had an amazing year. I learned so much more in one season than I had before in my whole career, so we will keep working for next year.”

Karel Hanika,
“I didn’t make a bad start and was in the main group, but from the beginning I saw that it would be hard to stay there because I didn’t have a good feeling. I was able to brake well, but lost ground when accelerating. I didn’t have a bad pace either, but yesterday I was a little better when riding alone and today I found it hard to keep with the group. I pushed as hard as I could to stick with them, until both the front and rear wheel slipped out at Turn 2 and I highsided. I’m not happy about it, but there isn’t much we can do.

I’ve had two fantastic years at Red Bull KTM Ajo, in which  despite the overall results not being as expected, the team have helped me a lot at all times. I thank the whole team and I wish them luck in the future.”

Aki Ajo,
“Obviously the goal is always to win the title, but I don’t think we can be too disappointed because in the second half of the year -especially in recent races- we have done an amazing job. Miguel [Oliveira] has shown an incredible pace, being the strongest rider in the last six races and doing a fantastic job. We have recovered a lot of ground on the eventual champion, something that nobody could have expected midseason -especially after the problems earlier this year. We have all greatly improved: Miguel the most, but also the team with the support of KTM and all our partners. It is teamwork that has brought us back into contention.

Brad Binder was not very happy with his race today, because he had a problem in the early stages that didn’t allow him to catch the front group. But I am very happy with his performance today and in the second half of the season. I think we have a good chance to fight for victories next season and we will do a good job during the winter.

It was a shame that Karel [Hanika] could not finish the last race and had a crash. It has been a difficult year, with many highlights, especially in practice. But there were also too many crashes. It is very difficult for a rider to regain calm when they have so many crashes, but we know he has potential. We hope he manages to relax over the winter and start next season in the right frame of mind.”