Promising start to Italian GP for Binder and Oliveira


Brad Binder returns to action after three-race absence with seventh fastest time. Miguel Oliveira follows him closely in eighth position.


Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira completed a positive first day of practice for the Italian Grand Prix. The South African rider could hardly have made a better return to action, ending the day seventh on the timesheets in the first outing for the KTM Moto2 machine at Mugello. Binder had missed the last three races through injury. Oliveira made an equally good start to his teammate, finishing eighth despite dedicating the day to working on the race setup of his bike.

In the morning practice session, the Red Bull KTM Ajo crew were finally reunited with Brad Binder. He made just one return to the pits during FP1, and set his best lap on his last attempt, placing 20th with a 1:54.112. Binder experienced pain in his hand and left elbow, something to be expected after his recent inactivity. Miguel Oliveira placed inside the Top 10, finishing FP1 in sixth -1:53.143.

FP2 saw Binder and Oliveira take an important step forward with their KTM bike. Showing a quick adaptation to the Italian track, both lowered their morning times on their first laps. Binder improved his time gradually, to set a 1:52.932 on his second stint and finish the session seventh. Oliveira, riding alone, put in a 1:52.978 lap just slower than his teammate, to place eighth.

Binder and Oliveira tomorrow will have one final Free Practice session tomorrow morning, before qualifying at 3:05pm local time.


Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Alex Marquez (Kalex) 1:52.229
2. Takaaki Nakagami (Kalex) 1:52.329 +0.100
3. Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) 1:52.568 +0.339
4. Mattia Pasini (Kalex) 1:52.615 +0.386
5. Simone Corsi (Speed Up) 1:52.627 +0.398
7. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:52.932 +0.703
8. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:52.978 +0.749


“The first day was very good, although it was very hot. Having injured my arm, I had only been able to do a little cycling bike, run and lift very light weights. Every time I change direction with the bike it hurts a lot, but my arm is doing better than I expected and that’s great. Being the first day back, I think I had some extra motivation after being inactive. Today we tried to assess how things were and do a few laps; on some I could go very fast, but I had a hard time maintaining a steady pace.
I did not expect to finish seventh today; This morning I went wrong on the first few laps, but with every lap I felt better and everything went much easier. In fact, I think FP2 was my best practice session since I moved up to Moto2, so I am very happy. We’ll try to keep it up for the rest of the weekend.”

“Today I felt pretty good, and we were among the fastest rider from the get-go. In addition, we made only few changes to the setup from the first time we went out. At the end of the day we only lacked a good lap with new tyres, but I’m still happy to have started the weekend well. Tomorrow we will continue working to improve. Our setup today was made with the race in mind, not to set a great time ahead of qualifying, so the fuel we had in the tank will change. That is something we must work on, in order to get a good position on the grid.”