Binder takes pole in the rain


Red Bull KTM Ajo rider snatches sixth pole position of the year at wet Sepang International Circuit. Bo Bendsneyder heads the third row for Malaysian GP.

Red Bull KTM Ajo enjoyed a great Saturday at the Malaysian Grand Prix, with riders Brad Binder and Bo Bendsneyder showing their wet weather skills and occupying spots on the front and third row for Sunday’s race. Binder took pole, with his rookie teammate seventh.

The asphalt of the Sepang International Circuit was dry with damp patches for Moto3 FP3. This prevented lap times from improving until the very end of the session. As happened yesterday morning, Binder waited until the last lap to set the top time of the entire weekend in the class -2:14.690. Bendsneyder also dropped his time from yesterday, going eleventh with a 2:15.517.

In the afternoon, heavy rain forced Race Direction to show the red flag with 19 minutes remaining, when the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders occupied two of the places on the second row. When conditions improved, the qualifying session resumed and the riders went on to roll the dice in the final stages. Binder pushed for one final lap, with which he took pole position -2:26.268-, whilst Bendsneyder’s 2:27.604 time gave him a praiseworthy seventh place.

The penultimate race of the year will start at 12am local time -5am CET- on Sunday. Brad Binder and Bo Bendsneyder will look to add to the podium record for Red Bull KTM Ajo at Sepang, which stands at 5 -3 wins- in four years.

Results – Qualifying Practice
1. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:26.268
2. Jorge Navarro (Honda) 2:26.361 +0.093
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Mahindra) 2:26.395 +0.127
4. Lorenzo Dalla Porta (KTM) 2:27.078 +0.810
5. Gabriel Rodrigo (KTM) 2:27.307 +1.039
7. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:27.604 +1.336

“To be honest, on the last run in qualifying I didn’t feel quite right, but when I saw the team put on the board that I could have improved my time, I thought it was time to try to set a good time and go for pole position. I am very happy, I’ve felt very strong in all conditions and also the team have done a great job and provided me with a perfect bike. Getting pole in wet conditions is unbelievable.”

“Today we had a very good qualifying session. Also FP3, in the dry, was very good, something important when we are facing a possible race in those conditions. I think we’re prepared for all conditions, wet or dry, and to fight for a Top 10 finish. At first the track was between dry and wet in qualifying, so I seized that moment to push as hard as I could. When it started to rain harder we maintained good grip. On the last lap I gave it everything and could improve on the first sector, but then I braked a little late and lost any chance of improving. In short, we are competitive in both conditions and I look forward to the race.”