Binder to start from fourth at Mugello


Red Bull KTM Ajo rider bounces back from FP3 crash to ride among the top places in qualifying. Bo Bendsneyder takes his best grid position since Qatar and will start from 13th.

The second day of practice for the Italian Grand Prix saw the starting grid for the sixth race of the year decided. World Championship leader, Brad Binder, will head the second row at Mugello, missing out on the front line by just 56 thousandths of a second. The South African had to overcome discomfort in his neck, and his team needed to reassemble his KTM after a crash in the final practice session. Red Bull KTM Ajo rookie, Bo Bendsneyder, also had a good Saturday, and will lead the fifth row after placing 13th on the timesheets.

The morning activities at Mugello took place in sunny conditions, but the final practice session did not go as as expected for Binder. He suffered a highside coming out of Turn 14 with 28 minutes remaining, which prevented him from going back out on track for the remainder of the session. Fortunately, a medical check-up confirmed that he had not suffered any injury in the crash. Meanwhile, Bendsneyder was able to improve on his Friday times, breaking the 2:00 barrier for the first time. He was 21st in FP3, with a top lap of 1:59.093.

Despite pain in his neck, Binder did not have problems setting a good pace at the start of qualifying. On his second stint, he stopped the clock at 1:57.661 –a time which proved to be his best due to traffic preventing another hot lap. He will start the Italian GP from fourth tomorrow. Bendsneyder achieved his best grid position since the inaugural Grand Prix of the season in Qatar. Working alongside Binder, put in a top time of 1:58.305 and will start from 13th –on the fifth row.

The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders will fight for the team’s third victory in four years at Mugello. If Brad Binder manages to achieve the feat, it would be his third consecutive win and continue his perfect podium streak for the season.

Results (Qualifying practice)
1. Romano Fenati (KTM) 1:57.289
2. Andrea Migno (KTM) 1:57.586 +0.297
3. Khairul Idham Pawi (Honda) 1:57.605 +0.316
4. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:57.661 +0.372
5. Jorge Navarro (Honda) 1:57.956 +0.667
13. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:58.305 +1.016

“The qualifying session wasn’t bad for us. It was difficult, because there were a lot of people on track and it seemed no one wanted to get in front of me, but it’s not the first time this has happened –that’s qualifying. Even with this, I am happy because we will start from fourth tomorrow. We need to work a bit more tomorrow because I do not feel 100% comfortable with the bike, although I think we can have a good day. I can’t thank the team enough for their work today. They rebuilt the bike from scratch in a couple of hours. Once again they have shown that we are an incredible team. After crashing in FP3, we can be happy with fourth place. Tomorrow I will go into the race with an open mind and try to get the best result I can from it.”

“Thirteenth is a good result, and my best position in qualifying since Qatar, although it was a somewhat difficult session. I tried to follow Brad [Binder], but we joined up with a lot of other riders and we had to wait. However, in the end I got a good lap in. I am happy with the pace we set this morning; we have taken a step forward in qualifying, which was one of my goals, so now I’m looking forward to the race. I hope to make a good start and give my all, fighting until the end for points.”