Second row for Red Bull KTM Ajo at Sachsenring


Bo Bendsneyder places fourth in fantastic qualifying performance, taking his best grid position in Grand Prix racing. He will share Row 2 with teammate Brad Binder, who qualified sixth.

The second day of the German GP weekend was a positive one for Red Bull KTM Ajo. The team’s rookie rider, Bo Bendsneyder, took a further step forward in the Moto3 World Championship, taking his best qualifying result to date with fourth on the grid. He will be joined on Row 2 by his teammate, series leader Brad Binder. The South African made significant improvements to his feeling at Sachsenring and placed sixth in the session –only missing out on the opportunity to better his time due to late traffic.

Taking advantage of more favourable weather conditions on Saturday, Binder and his team made a big change to the setup of his KTM, allowing him to make important progress. After only requiring a single stop in Free Practice 3 to put on new tyres, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider was up at the head of the timesheets and setting the pace with a 1:27.304 best time. He completed 14 laps, and concluded the session second fastest. Bendsneyder improved his time by half a second, but had to settle for 21st with a 1:28.334 lap.

The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders used teamwork in qualifying, applying a strategy to ride by themselves on the second stint. Everything worked as planned until a red flag stopped the session with 25 minutes still remaining. On provisional pole at the time of the stoppage, Binder was unable to improve his time before the end due to traffic, with his 1:27.566 lap putting him sixth. Bendsneyder, however, did get a hot lap in before the chequered flag was waved, clocking a 1:27.522 for fourth on the grid.

The German GP Moto3 race starts at 11am local time at Sachsenring, and presents an opportunity for Binder to get back on the podium –having missed out for the first time this season at Assen. Bendsneyder will be attempting to place in the points for the third race in succession.

Results (Qualifying practice)
1. Enea Bastianini (Honda) 1:27.129
2. Andrea Locatelli (KTM) 1:27.448 +0.319
3. Aron Canet (Honda) 1:27.501 +0.372
4. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:27.522 +0.393
5. Jorge Navarro (Honda) 1:27.538 +0.409
6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:27.566 +0.437

“It was a bit of a strange day, because it felt like half of the grid was riding behind me. Even waiting for a long time in the garage didn’t help, as they were waiting in the pitlane and I had twenty-odd riders on my back wheel when I went out. It is not a very serious problem, but it makes things difficult because nobody wants to go in front of me. Even if I go wide on a corner, they are waiting for me again at the next turn. However, sixth position in qualifying is pretty good. In addition, the bike worked much better than yesterday, which gives me confidence for tomorrow’s race. We’ll see what we can do and I will give 110% to try to win. I suspect four or five riders will escape. I’m happy with my pace and I feel comfortable riding alone.”

“Fourth place is a spectacular result. I had already set a very good lap at the start, but it was scrubbed off because of the red flag. I was able to ride at a good pace today, and the last lap was almost perfect. I had to be careful, because there were riders ahead of me who crashed, but eventually I succeeded in getting my hot lap in. I am very happy, because fourth is the best qualifying result I’ve had so far. We have also found a good setup for the bike and I’m very confident for tomorrow. The goal is always to finish in the points, but the idea is to be in the Top 10 here, like at Assen.”