2017 preseason comes to an end for Antonelli and Bendsneyder19/03/2017
Niccolo Antonelli and Bo Bendsneyder closed preseason testing in Qatar in 8th and 13th position on the combined standings, respectively, as difficult weather conditions again affected the action.
Niccolo Antonelli and Bo Bendsneyder capped off their preseason work with a final night of testing at Losail, ending with a good feeling at the venue for the 2017 Qatar Grand Prix. Rain and strong winds prevented them from using the night to its fullest, and besides the second session, there was only a small window in the first and third sessions to get out on track. On the combined timesheet for the three nights of testing, Antonelli finished 8th -taking a significant step forward- whilst teammate Bendsneyder was 13th (4th on Sunday).
Antonelli was only able to complete 24 laps on Sunday, but finished his two sessions in the Top 10 and set a best time of 2:08.733. Bendsneyder also demonstrated his skill in difficult conditions in Qatar, ending the night 4th with a best lap of 2:08.269. He put in a total of 22 laps. Both the first and last sessions of the day were hindered by the rain and wind.
The 2017 season will begin next Thursday, March 23rd, at the Losail International Circuit. The Red Bull KTM Ajo team riders will have two Free Practice sessions, at 6pm and 8:55pm local time.
Results – Combined Standings Day 3
1. Juanfran Guevara (KTM) 2:07.649
2. Ayumu Sasaki (Honda) 2:07.825 +0.176
3. Gabriel Rodrigo (KTM) 2:08.103 +0.454
4. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:08.269 +0.620
5. Romano Fenati (Honda) 2:08.296 +0.647
12. Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:08.733 +1.084
Results – Combined Standings Days 1-2-3
1. Romano Fenati (Honda) 2:06.690
2. Jorge Martin (Honda) 2:06.729 +0.039
3. Aron Canet (Honda) 2:06.749 +0.059
4. Gabriel Rodrigo (KTM) 2:06.957 +0.267
5. Livio Loi (Honda) 2:2:07.068 +0.378
8. Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:07.150 +0.460
13. Bo Bendsnedyer (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:07.339 +0.649
Aki Ajo – Team Manager: “After testing in Valencia and Jerez this winter, it was interesting to be able to also test here in Qatar. Although the weather conditions have not been the best, I think we have found a fairly good base setup for the race in Qatar. We will continue to work here next Thursday.”
#23 Niccolo Antonelli: “Overall it went quite well. Today it was very difficult to ride with the wind, but we were able to try some things out and I am happy with the result. When we went out for the last session the weather was too bad, it was impossible to turn and stay on the bike. We are fairly consistent, I feel more comfortable when cornering and I think we have improved a lot since the last test. I’m sure we can take another step forward before next Sunday’s race.”
#64 Bo Bendsneyder: “We had two good nights of testing. Today it has been quite windy and it has been more difficult to test things. We have not been able to reach the times we usually do here when the conditions are good, but it has been a positive day. I am looking forward to the race; I think we have a good base setup with which to start the weekend, although we have to work very hard to improve.”