First day in Japan for Red Bull KTM Ajo


Brad Binder and Bo Bendsneyder complete Friday at Motegi with twelfth and nineteenth fastest times, respectively.

The 2016 series of flyaway Moto3 rounds began on Friday with the first day of free practice for the Japanese GP. On a day of good weather at Twin Ring Motegi, Brad Binder took to the track for the first time as World Champion. The day was not an easy one for the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders, as both Binder a and teammate Bo Bendsneyder suffered crashes; on the combined timesheets, the pair placed twelfth and nineteenth, respectively.

Binder started the day in a way that has become habitual this season, topping the timesheets on the opening laps. The South African would hold the lead position until a light crash at Turn 3 with 8 minutes remaining, preventing him from improving his lap times and relegating him to second place –1:57.672–. Bendsneyder stuck to his teammate in order to be able to quickly learn a new track for him –ninth position; 1:58.226. The rookie also crashed, escaping unhurt, 2 minutes before the end of the session at Turn 1.

The second Free Practice session did not start well for Binder, who suffered a second crash of the day 14 minutes in –losing the front at Turn 7. Despite it only being a small crash, he not get back on track and completed the day with a total of just 17 laps. His best time in the second session was a 1:58.612 –21st place. Meanwhile, Bendsneyder was also unable to lower his morning time, clocking a best lap of 1:58.309 in FP2 that left him in eighteenth position.

Saturday sees qualifying for the Japanese GP, beginning at 12:35pm local time.

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Enea Bastianini (Honda) 1:56.982
2. Hiroki Ono (Honda) 1:57.103 +0.121
3. Livio Loi (Honda) 1:57.391 +0.409
4. Jorge Navarro (Honda) 1:57.447 +0.465
5. Nicolo Bulega (KTM) 1:57.523 +0.541
12. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:57.672 +0.690
19. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:58.226 +1.244


“It was a bit of a strange day. The feeling was incredible when I left the garage this morning. The bike was almost perfect; everything seemed easy and under control. When we changed tyres, I went out and on the second lap I crashed. This morning I couldn’t understand why that was. This afternoon I tried to go out with the same tyres that I had crashed with and had no confidence in the front, so I went down again on the second lap. Unfortunately we could not prepare the bike in time because it was quite damaged.
It’s very strange. I had never crashed in that way with this bike. I had only suffered a highside on occasion. I have been riding this bike for two years and never had a similar feeling with the front. We will have to analyse all the data but I think something strange has happened, perhaps the tyres; this afternoon we will look into every aspect.”


“FP1 went well. I was fairly fast for it being an unknown circuit for me. In the morning everything went well, except for the small crash at the end. In the afternoon I was very confident and I felt good but when we started, the feeling was not as good as in the morning and we decided to change tyres –because I had no confidence in the rear. From there I was able to improve on every lap, but the feeling is still not perfect, so we have to work to regain confidence and from there we can take a step forward.”