Bendsneyder earns spot on second row for Czech GP


Red Bull KTM Ajo rider goes sixth in dry qualifying session. Niccolo Antonelli places twelfth.


After a wet first day of the Czech GP, the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders were able to run slicks on Saturday and test out some of the updates that KTM have brought to Brno. Bo Bendsneyder continued his progress from recent Grands Prix, snatching sixth place late on in qualifying to put him on the second row. Niccolo Antonelli recovered from a tricky FP3 to take twelfth position in the grid-setting session.

For the first time this weekend, the Moto3 riders were able to enjoy a sunny session on Saturday morning. However, the dirty state of the track caught several riders out, with more than a dozen crashes occurring. Antonelli was one of riders to fall, crashing on two occasions without serious consequences. He was eventually eighteenth, with a time of 2:10.068. A more relaxed session was enjoyed by Bendsneyder, who was back among the fastest riders to finish ninth -2:09.350.

Track temperatures reaching 41ºC made things uncomfortable in qualifying, as the Moto3 riders battled for pole position. In their first two stints, both Antonelli and Bendsneyder were unable to push their hardest, but instead waited for a speedy last runout. It was in their final run that they both set their best laps of the weekend to date: The Italian did so on his penultimate lap, taking twelfth, and Bendsneyder’s final attack, with the chequered flag already out, took him to sixth -2:08.991.

The tenth race of the year for the Moto3 class starts at 11am tomorrow, with rain forecast for the contest. Niccolo Antonelli has already taken a win at Brno, doing so in 2015.


Results (Qualifying Practice)
1. Gabriel Rodrigo (KTM) 2:08.571
2. Romano Fenati (Honda) 2:08.721 +0.150
3. Juanfran Guevara (KTM) 2:08.874 +0.303
4. Joan Mir (Honda) 2:08.967 +0.396
5. Nicolo Bulega (KTM) 2:08.971 +0.400
6. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:08.991 +0.420
12. Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:09.358 +0.787


“Today we did our utmost. It was difficult to do better because in today’s conditions, with a somewhat dirty track, it took us a little longer to adapt. The general feeling with the bike is good, we have a setup that works very well under braking and exiting corners, but physically I am still tiring when I take things to the limit. Due to my injury I find it a bit harder to ride in the dry, but I’m satisfied because we can brake and turn in well -something that allows us to be competitive. I think starting from the fourth row is fine, after the injury I’ve had, so we’re happy about how the day has finished. ”

“It’s a good feeling to start from the second row. The positive thing is that we are continuing with the good work that we left of from after Holland and Germany, and this I think is the best part of all. We continue taking steps forward and we are getting closer to our best. Brno is not one of my favourite circuits but we are still close to the front, and this is good. Tomorrow we will see what happens; the forecast is for rain and we have a good feeling in wet conditions. You never know what the weather conditions will be tomorrow, but we hope we can fight for a good position in the race.”