Bendsneyder to make first front row start in front of home fans


Dutchman finishes second in qualifying for the Dutch GP, after leading for much of the session. Niccolo Antonelli, who had a difficult day, will take off from 25th.

Saturday at the Dutch GP was a brilliant day for Bo Bendsneyder, who took a big step forward amidst wet conditions. The Dutchman, at his home GP this weekend, led the way in FP3 and placed second in qualifying -just missing out on his first pole in the Moto3 World Championship. Tomorrow will be the first time the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider starts from the front row in the series. Teammate Niccolo Antonelli did not have such a good day, suffering two crashes in the two sessions. He will start from 25th position.

Free Practice 3 was contested on completely wet track, amidst fine rain. The session did not start well for Antonelli, who crashed just past the halfway point at Turn 10. He escaped unharmed, but missed out on the rest of the session and his 2:00.797 time put him 27th. Bendsneyder experienced a better time in the wet. He did not make a single stop in the pits, and the Dutchman set an exceptional pace. He was the fastest rider in the session with a 1:57.078 time, more than half a second ahead of his nearest rival.

Qualifying was also held in wet conditions, and Bendsneyder again took the initiative. He was up into third on the intitial laps, and went top midway through the grid-deciding shootout. His lead lasted until just over 2 minutes remained, when Jorge Martin managed to best his time. Bendsneyder’s 1:58.424 lap put him second on the grid for the Dutch GP.

Suffering pain in his back that forced him to go to the Clinica Mobile for a check-up, Antonelli was unable to take to the track until the first quarter of an hour had elapsed. In the final stretch, when he was improving his time, the Italian suffered another crash at Turn 11. He ended the session with a best time of 2:01.855, for 25th place.
For the second consecutive year, the Moto3 Dutch GP will be held on Sunday at 11:00am local time.

Results (Qualifying Practice)
1. Jorge Martin (Honda) 1:57.595
2. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:58.424 +0.829
3. Nicolo Bulega (KTM) 1:59.308 +1.713
4. Nakarin Atiratphuvapat (Honda) 2:00.056 +2.461
5. Marco Bezzechi (Mahindra) 2:00.189 +2.594
25. Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:01.855 +4.260


“Today was not our best day. Now it is just a matter of thinking about tomorrow, of resting up and recovering to reach optimum conditions in the race and being able take a step forward. After the crash in the morning my back is giving me problems; it hurts when I try to move my arm and I also have some discomfort with my right shoulder. The effort made during these days to compensate for my left side -with my diclocated shoulder- is also taking its toll. Now we will go to the Clinica Mobile and see what treatment I should follow for tomorrow.”

“Today Jorge [Martin] was very strong. This year he is the poleman in Moto3, but for us to start from second is a very good position. We’ll see what the weather is like tomorrow, but I think we can be very happy with the work we’ve done. It was not easy to ride in these conditions and on this wet asphalt, and we have managed to be fast and consistent, which is very important. I am very motivated about racing at home, and in front of this magnificent crowd that are supporting me at every moment. Yesterday was also very good, our pace is not bad and in the wet we are at a good level. I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow.”