Bendsneyder and Antonelli complete first day at Mugello


Red Bull KTM Ajo team riders finish 17th and 23rd, respectively, in Free Practice for the Italian Grand Prix.


The Red Bull KTM Ajo team riders started work for the Italian GP this Friday at Mugello. Over the course of two Free Practice sessions at the demanding Italian track, Bo Bendsneyder and Niccolo Antonelli completed the first day of action in 17th and 23rd, respectively, on the combined timesheet. Their Friday workload saw them take a more experimental approach than at other Grands Prix.

The morning session saw the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders out on track at one of the most beautiful and difficult circuits on the calendar. Bendsneyder and Antonelli took things slowly, adapting the setup of their KTM bikes to the characteristics of the Italian track. The Dutchman finished 14th -1:59.902-, followed closely by his teammate in 16th -2:00.166.

The track temperature in the afternoon rose to 52ºC, making things tough for tyres. Bendsneyder was the first of the Red Bull KTM Ajo duo to lower their morning time, although Antonelli also did so in the final quarter hour. The Dutchman was 16th with a time of 1:59.206, while the Italian had his final lap scrubbed and had to settle for 22nd in the session -1:59.620.

Tomorrow, the team will work to improve their pace and achieve a good position in qualifying, held at 12:35pm local time. The last Red Bull KTM Ajo rider to earn a place on the front row at Mugello was Jack Miller in 2014, with second place.


Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Honda) 1:57.328
2. Nicolo Bulega (KTM) 1:57.379 +0.051
3. Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Mahindra) 1:57.618 +0.290
4. John McPhee (Honda) 1:57.878 +0.550
5. Joan Mir (Honda) 1:58.028 +0.700
17. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:59.206 +1.878
23. Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:59.620 +2.292


“We aren’t happy about how the first day at Mugello went. I didn’t feel good on the bike and I was not able to ride as I would have liked. Tomorrow we must be stronger and find something that allows us to take a step forward, because when I feel good we can be up at the front. Now I am only thinking about working well for tomorrow and reducing the gap to the top rider. We still have time and room for improvement, and we know what we have to change to do that in the next session.”

“Today wasn’t as bad as it might seem on the timesheets. I felt comfortable with the used tyre, especially in FP2. Then we changed tyres for a qualifying simulation and I also felt strong, although on the last stint there was already a lot of traffic on track and it wasn’t so easy. I did my best lap with the soft tyre, after four laps, but before that I had completed other good laps. Going by the result alone, today isn’t a very positive day, but everything is much better than it seems.”