Antonelli starts Argentinian GP in good shape


Red Bull KTM Ajo rider sets fifth best time of opening two practice sessions at Termas de Rio Hondo. Bo Bendsneyder places seventeenth.


The Termas de Rio Hondo circuit welcomed the Moto3 World Championship for the fourth consecutive year this Friday, to kick off the Argentinian GP. The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders completed their first laps of the track in Free Practice, drawing positive conclusions from the work done with the setup of their KTM bikes. Niccolo Antonelli managed to finish the day in fifth position, with his teammate Bo Bendsneyder in seventeenth.

As usual at this event, the Moto3 riders were given the task of scrubbing the asphalt by putting in laps in the opening practice session. Although the track was not as dirty as in previous years, this factor coupled with high winds prevented Antonelli and Bendsneyder from riding at their quickest. They completed the first 40 minutes of practice in twelfth -1:52.700- and eighteenth -1:52.883- position, respectively.

The conditions on-track improved considerably throughout the day, and this was shown in the times set during FP2. Both Antonelli and Bendsneyder took just two laps to lower their times from the morning, with the Italian making a single stop in the garage -after which he put in his best time of 1:51.093 for fifth place. Bendsneyder twice returned to the box for adjustments, and he clocked his best lap on his third outing -1:51.522, in seventeenth.

After the weather-cancelled qualifying session in Qatar a fortnight ago, Saturday in Argentina marks the first timed shootout for the Moto3 class this season. Although rain is forecast, the session is set to take place at 12:35 local time.



Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Joan Mir (Honda) 1:50.248
2. Romano Fenati (Honda) 1:50.812 +0.564
3. Nicolo Bulega (KTM) 1:50.931 +0.683
4. John McPhee (Honda) 1:50.940 +0.692
5. Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:51.093 +0.845
17. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:51.522 +1.274


“I think today we did quite well, because we did a good job ahead of the race with the whole team. Since we don’t know if it will rain tomorrow or not, today it was important to do as many laps as possible -which is what we did. Although I am sure that we have room for improvement, I am very happy with today and about being in the Top 5; this is very good and positive for us.”

“This morning the first session started quite well. We were in the Top 10 from the first few laps, but at the end we struggled a little and the other riders improved their times. We worked hard ahead of FP2 and we started really well. After stopping in the pits, we went back out with new tyres; it didn’t go badly, but we were overtaken by several other riders on the timesheets. We are close to the Top 10, but we have to improve the feeling with the front end. Now it’s time to work for tomorrow.”