Red Bull KTM Ajo in Top 10 in Austin qualifying


Miguel Oliveira and Ricky Cardus set the seventh and tenth best times, respectively, in the Moto2 qualifying session for the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas.


Miguel Oliveira will start the Moto2 Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas tomorrow from the third row of the grid. The Portuguese rider continued with his good feeling from Friday in the second day of action in Austin, improving his times and reaffirming himself as one of the riders with the best pace ahead of the race. Ricky Cardus also continued his great form with tenth place -for a spot on the fourth row.

Multiple crashes in the MotoGP FP3 session, due to low track temperatures, caused the Moto2 riders to go out with caution in their first run of the day. In spite of this, as the minutes went by they began to lower their lap times from Friday. As he did yesterday, Miguel Oliveira set a great last lap that placed him second fastest, with a time of 2:10.306. It was harder for Ricky Cardus, who could not improve his lap time. His 2:12.250 best kept him out of the Top 15 for the first time this weekend.

In qualifying, the Red Bull KTM Ajo duo followed a completely different strategy compared to the Free Practice session. Oliveira and Cardus came out strong, setting their best laps on their third attempts and placing in fourth -2:10.317- and sixth -2:10.417- positions, respectively. Oliveira repeated his best lap of the entire weekend and the Spaniard set a new personal record, with an improvement of over a second. In the end, they would have had to settle for seventh and tenth place on the grid.

Tomorrow, starting at 12.20pm local time, Oliveira and Cardus will fight to get the best possible result in the 19-lap race. They have a chance to get Red Bull KTM Ajo’s second podium in the class -following the Portuguese’s maiden rostrum in Argentina.


Results (Qualifying Practice)
1. Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) 2:09.379
2. Mattia Pasini (Kalex) 2:09.546 +0.167
3. Alex Marquez (Kalex) 2:09.621 +0.242
4. Takaaki Nakagami (Kalex) 2:09.960 +0.581
5. Thomas Luthi (Kalex) 2:09.980 +0.601
7. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:10.317 +0.938
10. Ricky Cardus (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:10.417 +1.038


“The qualifying session here in Austin went quite well. In the end, with this seventh position we are a little bit further back than we were hoping to be, bearing in mind how the Free Practice sessions went. Nevertheless, we were able to ride at a good pace, completing more laps in the 2:10s. I am happy with how the bike is behaving, but we can still continue improving some details to make it easier to endure the whole race. Tomorrow we will try to make a good start and hold on in the top positions. I think the second half of the race will be very important, because it is a very physical circuit.”

“This morning we had a bit of trouble and I got a little nervous. I have to thank Aki [Ajo], who calmed me down a bit and told me how to deal with the problems. The good thing is that we know what the problem we had this morning was. The bike was completely different in qualifying, and it was back to how I like it. We did a lap behind Miguel [Oliveira], who acted as my pacemaker. We are tenth, which is good and bad at the same time -because we could be a little higher up the grid. There are some places where we are losing a lot of time, and we know where they are and what we have to work on.
I am fully confident in this team for tomorrow, because every time we go out on track there is a giant step forward with the bike and in quality. Tomorrow we will be ready to fight.”