Binder starts Italian GP in the Top 5


Red Bull KTM Ajo rider finishes fourth after first day of practice at Mugello, unhealthy with teammate Bo Bendsneyder 19th on Friday timesheets.

The sixth round of the Moto3 World Championship season got underway on Friday at the Mugello circuit in Italy. The Tuscan track hosted the first two sessions of the weekend for the lower cylinder class -the morning run affected by overnight rainfall. World Championship leader Brad Binder finished the day with the fourth fastest time. On only his second visit to Mugello, hospital Bo Bendsneyder placed nineteenth as he focused on regaining feeling at the track and beginning to adjust the setup of his KTM bike.

Overnight rainfall in Tuscany has prevented the riders from running slicks in FP1, shop as a damp track provided hazardous conditions for the riders. Bendsneyder placed twelfth with a 2:11.317 lap, relearning the circuit after two years away, while Binder used the last seven minutes of the session to test that his bike was in working order.

In the second session, with a clear sky, completely dry track and temperatures reaching 26°C, the Red Bull KTM Ajo were able to put slicks on their bikes. Binder, running a good pace from the start of the session, completed 18 laps and clocked a best time of 1:58.935, going fourth and just 0.446s off the top spot. For Bendsneyder, the session allowed him to gain confidence at one of the most technical tracks of the season, and he finished 19th -with a time of 2:00.139.

Having missed out on pole position in France by 0.067s, tomorrow Brad Binder will be looking to top the timesheets when qualifying starts at 12:35pm. Both he and Bendsneyder will be chasing positions high up the order in preparation for Sunday’s race.

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Hiroki Ono (Honda) 1:58.489
2. Francesco Bagnaia (Mahindra) 1:58.760 +0.271
3. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Honda) 1:58.892 +0.403
4. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:58.935 +0.446
5. Jorge Navarro (Honda) 1:59.013 +0.524
19. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:00.139 +1.650

“The feeling was good today. We could say that we practically only had one session -the afternoon run. I felt very strong from the beginning and was able to ride fast with tyres that were a little worn. In any case, I think we can still improve because I do not feel entirely comfortable when turning. Despite that, my feeling at the end of the day is positive and now we will talk with the team to see how we can improve. If we are able to solve a few issues we will be much stronger. My goal is to win every race, but it is not so simple. If I can get on the podium on Sunday, I will consider myself satisfied, so tomorrow I need a good QP.”

“FP1 was on a half-dry track, and as it was very tough we decided to dedicate our time to learning the track. In the second session we were up in the Top 15 at the halfway point, but later on I suffered a little as I didn’t know the best lines or braking markers. Today was about learning the track. I think I can go fast, because the track is good for my riding style, so tomorrow I will try to be up there -but we will need to work very hard.”