Miguel Oliveira starts Qatar GP in Top 3


Portuguese finishes third on first night of free practice at Losail, with Brad Binder in 21st position and improving his time from the Official Test.

The Red Bull KTM Ajo team started their journey in Moto2 with a positive first night of the Qatar GP. Miguel Oliveira continued with the good feelings he had experienced in preseason, finishing third in the combined standings from the first two Free Practice sessions. Teammate Brad Binder finished 21st, although he was able to improve on his best test time from a week ago at the same track.

Miguel Oliveira made a great start with the new KTM Moto2 bike in the opening Free Practice, placing second in the first ten minutes and completing his best lap on his final attempt -2:00.555, third-, following a solitary trip back to the garage. On his debut in the Moto2 class, Binder finished eighteenth with a best time of 2:01.455, despite suffering a small crash at Turn 16 with two minutes remaining.

In the second session, with strong winds on track, it was more difficult to improve times, but both riders showed skill in the tricky conditions. Oliveira remained among the fastest during much of FP2, closing the session with a best time of 2:01.113 for tenth place. Binder clocked a 2:01.615 for 20th place, although he was less than a second off the top time.
Free practice concludes tomorrow with a final session at 19:55 local time.

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Thomas Luthi (Kalex) 2:00.442
2. Taakaki Nakagami (Kalex) 2:00.502 +0.080
3. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:00.555 +0.133
4. Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) 2:00.602 +0.180
5. Alex Marquez (Kalex) 2:00.648 +0.226
21. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:01.455 +1.033


“The truth is that today went very well -especially the first session of the day, in which I learned a lot- although I suffered a light crash. In FP2 I also started well and I was very comfortable. The only problem I have had has been with the new tyres in the second session, as I am still trying to understand how they work and I made some mistakes. In Moto2, once they cool down they cannot be reheated and I had a hard time controlling the rear. The important thing is that I have learned something today, and I really want to move forward tomorrow. The wind made the practice a little difficult, but we have been improving and the final evaluation is that we are progressing.”

“Today was a positive day, but in the second session we had some difficulties in improving our time from FP1. Overall I’m happy to have finished third in the combined timesheet. We need to improve a little in extreme conditions such as with this wind, but we have worked very well with the team. To take a step forward in windy conditions we need to load more weight onto the front and have more stability coming out of the corners. Tomorrow, hopefully with the circuit dry once again, we will try to lower our times.”