Rain slows debut for Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 team at Le Mans


Bad weather prevents Miguel Oliveira and Ricky Cardus from pushing their KTM bikes to the fullest on Friday, and they place thirteenth and nineteenth, respectively.


The KTM Moto2 bike’s first appearance at the historic Le Mans circuit did not go as smoothly as the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders had hoped, due to adverse weather conditions. Although the intermediate class was the only one of the three to contest an entire session in the dry, intermittent rainfall throughout the day prevented the setting of competitive lap times. In the end, the results from FP1 were the decisive ones for the combined timesheet, with Miguel Oliveira placing thirteenth and Ricky Cardus nineteenth.

The Moto2 riders were able to run slick tyres for their first laps of the French track. However, low temperatures impeded their riding as fast as they wanted. Oliveira and Cardus were also cautious about taking unneccesary risks, and established a conservative strategy, using the same tyres throughout the 45-minute session. In the end, they finished thirteenth -1:38.898- and nineteenth -1:39.268-, respectively.

In the afternoon they tested their skills in the wet, with part of the session even taking place as rain fell. The conditions made Oliveira and Cardus’ work with their KTM bikes more difficult, as the machine was being ridden for the first time at the circuit and they had little experience of its behaviour on a wet track. Despite this, the Portuguese pushed hard, leading the time table at several points. In the end he achieved the ninth fastest time of 1:48.104, followed closely by his teammate -who was fifteenth with a 1:48.599 lap.

Weather forecasts predict better conditions for tomorrow, when Moto2 qualifying takes place at 3:05pm local time.


Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Kalex) 1:38.158
2. Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) 1:38.169 +0.011
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex) 1:38.315 +0.157
4. Mattia Pasini (Kalex) 1:38.363 +0.205
5. Takaaki Nakagami (Kalex) 1:38.462 +0.304
13. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:38.898 +0.740
19. Ricky Cardus (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:39.268 +1.110


“The day wasn’t all bad. In the morning session we had some problems stopping the bike, and in FP2 we focused on improving that -although as it rained, tomorrow we will continue working on this. In the morning we rode the whole session with the hardest tyre we have. Tomorrow we will see what weather is like and how everything goes. Although we don’t have a dry setup for tomorrow, developing the KTM Moto2 bike is part of the project. Every time we go to a new circuit we are collecting information, and tomorrow we will do that again and do our best to get a good result.”

“Today I changed strategy a little, so as not to make the same mistakes we did at Jerez. We focused more on our pace for the race. In both the morning and in the afternoon we followed our work plan without looking at our position or times. In the afternoon, in wet conditions, I took things with calm and rode alone for the entire session. It went well, but it’s just a shame that I made a mistake on one partial that meant I placed outside the Top 5. We’ll finish the work we started today, and I know we can improve both tomorrow and on Sunday. The new asphalt is good for me, I didn’t have any scares and I improved with every lap. I’m feeling better all the time, and it looks as if they got things right with this change.”