Oliveira and Red Bull KTM Ajo #READYTORACE07/11/2015
Miguel Oliveira will fight to take the Moto3 title from the second row in Valencia. Karel Hanika and Brad Binder will start from the third row at the last race of the year.
The grid for the final, decisive race of the 2015 Moto3 World Championship was set this Saturday. Miguel Oliveira, one of the two candidates for the title, will start from fourth place, with teammates Karel Hanika and Brad Binder in eighth, and ninth, respectively.
Oliveira had said yesterday that he and his team knew the way to go in order to take a step forward, and he demonstrated just that in FP3. The Portuguese, like Binder and Hanika, used his first two stints to work on his pace for the closing laps of the race tomorrow. With fresh tyres on his third runout, Oliveira set the fastest time of the weekend so far: 1:39.293. Binder and Hanika also improved their times from yesterday, climbing to ninth -1:39.827- and fourteenth place -1:40.021-, respectively.
As is customary, the Moto3 qualifying practice was not an easy one. Karel Hanika suffered a crash at Turn 2, 8 minutes in, but was able to keep riding after a quick trip to the pits. Despite fitting new tyres, the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders struggled to find room on track through which to set the fastest lap. It was only on their last stint that Oliveira -fourth, 1:39.503- and Hanika -eighth, 1:39.617- set their best laps, with the Portuguese only a tenth off pole. Meanwhile, Binder’s time of 1:39.666, set mid-session, earned him ninth.
Tomorrow’s Moto3 race begins at 11am local time. If Oliveira is able to win and rival Danny Kent places 15th or lower, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider will be crowned World Champion.
Results (Qualifying practice)
1. John McPhee (Honda) 1:39.364
2. Romano Fenati (KTM) 1:39.450 +0.086
3. Efren Vazquez (Honda) 1:39.463 +0.099
4. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:39.503 +0.139
5. Jorge Navarro (Honda) 1:39.525 +0.161
8. Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:39.617 +0.253
9. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:39.666 +0.302
“Today we have done what we needed to do, which was to get onto front two rows of the grid. I would rather be on the front row, but I’m happy because we have done a good job with the tyres we will use in the race and I am confident for tomorrow. There will be riders who will make things difficult because they also want to win, but the strategy is clear: Push hard, not make things tricky when overtaking and protect my line. I do not know if I can get away, but I will try to be consistent and push hard. I feel no pressure and have a lot to gain, so I have to believe in myself and go for it.”
“We improved in practice and I had a good feeling with the bike, which is very positive for the race tomorrow. I have to keep working and pushing hard but I feel confident. I find it difficult to plan this Grand Prix, but tomorrow the one who has to win is Miguel [Oliveira], who is fighting for the championship. Today he did a great job in the qualifying session and tomorrow he has a good chance of winning the race. I have to be smart and try to have his back.”
“It’s a shame that we crashed so early on and missed the first and second stint, since I couldn’t ride on the limit and had to check that everything was working properly. I had a good pace despite not being 100% comfortable. We made some changes between yesterday and this morning and the front end was better, but the rear wasn’t feeling great and so we sought a compromise.
We’ve got a good setup and I even think we could have gone better. After the fall I was not very comfortable but I tried to do the best I could. The third row is not a bad place from which to start. I’m happy with the result. Tomorrow either Miguel [Oliveira] or Danny [Kent] could win the title. Miguel is very strong but it all depends on where Danny finishes. There are many riders and a lot can happen. Brad and I will try to ride our own race and stay ahead of Kent.”