Fourth row for Antonelli in Barcelona


Italian rider finishes tenth in qualifying for Catalan GP, with Bo Bendsneyder, fifteenth.

Red Bull KTM Ajo riders Niccolo Antonelli and Bo Bendsneyder will start the Catalan GP from the fourth and fifth rows of the grid, respectively, after a demanding qualifying session at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit. Amidst track temperatures that reached as high as 50ºC, Antonelli placed tenth and Bendsneyder fifteenth –although the latter will move up a position due to a penalty given to another rider. Both are satisfied with the pace shown in Free Practice, and are targetting a podium finish on Sunday.

The Moto3 riders had to adapt to another change to the track, with the chicane returning to the previous F1 layout. Antonelli and Bendsneyder adapted to the modification in a first stint with used tyres. After going out for a second run with new tyres, they rode together and moved up to the sharp end of the standings. The Italian was the fastest of the two, at one point placing second. He finished sixth and Bendsneyder fourteenth.

Once again, strategy played an important role in qualifying. The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders went out together in search of the fastest possible time. In the end, practically the entire Moto3 grid put in their quickest lap in the last 4 minutes, with everyone out on track at the same time. Antonelli was tenth quickest -1:54.331-, while Bendsneyder was fifteenth -1:54.474.

The seventh Moto3 race of the season starts on Sunday morning at 11am. Niccolo Antonelli and Bo Bendsneyder will try to compete for a podium finish, achieved by Red Bull KTM Ajo through Brad Binder last year.

Results (Qualifying Practice)
1. Jorge Martin (Honda) 1:53.368
2. Aron Canet (Honda) 1:53.995 +0.627
3. Juanfran Guevara (KTM) 1:54.027 +0.659
4. Romano Fenati (Honda) 1:54.031 +0.663
5. Joan Mir (Honda) 1:54.036 +0.668
10. Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:54.331 +0.963
15. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:54.474 +1.106

“I think today’s qualifying does not reflect how fast we were throughout the day. It’s a shame because we did a very good job, putting a good pace, but in qualifying we were not able to set our best lap. Tenth place is not a bad place to start from tomorrow. The new chicane modification has not changed things much, it just means that it is a little longer than yesterday. Tomorrow I expect a race with a lead group of around ten riders. I hope to be one of those and get into the fight for the podium at the end.”

“It has not been our best result in a qualifying session, but our pace is not bad -especially what we did in FP3. I’m also satisfied with my feeling on the bike, although we can still improve. Now we will look at the data and see what else we can change, but I can’t wait to see what the race will bring. The new chicane is a little different from the old one, and I like it more because it is faster. I don’t know what tomorrow’s race will be like, as Moto3 is always very unpredictable. I suppose that a lot of groups will be formed, we will try to fight to be as far forward as possible and get a good result.”