Bendsneyder and Kent finish in Top 10 at Le Mans


Red Bull KTM Ajo riders place ninth and tenth, respectively, at French GP, as teammate Niccolo Antonelli crashes out.

Bo Bendsneyder and Danny Kent finished the French GP with positive results, successfully placing inside the Top 10 in a crash-filled race at Le Mans. The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders finished 9th and 10th, respectively in a 16-lap race, following an initial red flag on the second scheduled lap. Niccolo Antonelli experienced misfortune on Sunday, crashing after the restart.

A multiple crash on the second lap of the race, caused by an oil spill, brought out the red flag. Antonelli and wildcard rider Kent were amongst a multitude of riders who fell in the incident, and the former made a brief trip to the medical centre at the circuit to ensure that he was unhurt. Thanks to great work by the team, both KTM bikes were able to take the restart.

In a shortened 16-lap contest, Bensdneyder and Kent stuck with the second group, fighting for a place on the rostrum. After exchanging places on several occasions, the Dutch rider took a step forward on the final laps to climb from 13th to 9th place, just ahead of his teammate who finished 10th.

Antonelli’s weekend concluded with disappointment on race day. He had moved up into third place off the second start, but before the end of the opening lap he crashed at Turn 13. After rejoining the race, he fell again, 4 laps from the end, at Turn 3.

Following five rounds of the 2017 season, Bendsneyder is 16th in the overall standings with 12 points. Antonelli is 17th, with 11 points. The next event on the calendar takes place in a fortnight’s time: The Italian GP at Mugello.

Aki Ajo – Team Manager
“In Moto3 this weekend had been quite positive. Although it has been tough, we are happy with the feeling we had and it seems that we are back on the path to fighting for the top positions. The race was difficult after oil fell on the track in the first start, causing the red flag. Unfortunately, Niccolo [Antonelli] crashed when he was in a good position, after making a good start and having a good first lap. Bo [Bendsneyder] and Danny [Kent] -despite not starting too well- moved into the group that was fighting for the front positions and I’m happy about that. We must continue to work hard and the results will come.”

Results (Race)
1. Joan Mir (Honda) 27:37.830
2. Aron Canet (Honda) +4.252
3. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Honda) +4.365
4. Marcos Ramirez (KTM) +4.469
5. Juanfran Guevara (KTM) +4.845
9. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +6.049
10. Danny Kent (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +6.193
DNF. Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo)

Moto3 World Championship Standing 2017
1. Joan Mir (Honda) 99 points
2. Romano Fenati (Honda) 65 points
3. Aron Canet (Honda) 63 points
4. Jorge Martin (Honda) 59 points
5. John McPhee (Honda) 53 points
16. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 12 points
17. Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 11 points
22. Danny Kent (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 6 points

“After the crash on the first start because of the oil on the track, I got something in my eye and it bothered me a lot in the definitive race. Despite that, I started very strong and I reached third place, although I crashed at the final double right hander. It’s a shame, because I was feeling very comfortable. We just have to keep giving our all and wait for the results to finally come; we will do better next time in front of the Italian fans.”

“On the first few laps it was difficult to run a good pace; I did not have a good feeling and I couldn’t ride comfortably. It’s something that had also happened to me both in the warmup and in QP, as I could only go fast after several laps. In the race, I made a good start, but I lost many positions and lost touch with the group. At the halfway point, as happened at Jerez, I found my best feeling and I was able to rejoin the group. With the amount of laps remaining the podium was too far away, and I was only able to pass 4 or 5 riders. I think this is what we have to learn: To be more aggressive and faster from the beginning. We’ve taken points but I’m still not happy.”

“It was a fun race, although personally I’m a bit frustrated because I had the pace to get on the podium. There was a large group of riders and I could have ended up in front of them. Maybe having spent a year and a half away from this class hurt me, and there were not many places at which to overtake. It is not easy for any rider to come back into a World Championship like Moto3. In summary, it was not a bad weekend at all. The whole team have done a great job. Today they had to fix the bike after the crash on the first start, and it was quite badly damaged. Now it’s time to keep looking forward and wait for a new opportunity.”