Bo Bendsneyder repeats second row start at Red Bull Ring


Dutchman will take off from sixth at the Austrian Grand Prix, after finishing qualifying nearly three tenths off pole. Niccolo Antonelli earns a place on the sixth row.

The Red Bull KTM Ajo team maintained their positive momentum at the Austrian GP on Saturday, earning places on the second and sixth row and showing a solid pace at the Red Bull Ring. The top 22 riders in qualifying were separated by just a single second, and Bo Bendsneyder was sixth in a repeat of his placing from Brno last weekend. Niccolo Antonelli was 17th.

In FP3, both Bendsneyder and Antonelli took the step forward that they wanted on a completely dry surface. The Dutchman was again one of the most outstanding riders in the session, always in the Top 5 and running an excellent pace. His 1:36.978 lap time for fourth place was 0.128s off the quickest in the session, whilst Antonelli lowered his time by more than a second and a half for thirteenth place -1:37.313-.

Both riders continued to improve in qualifying, and Bendsneyder headed the order when he clocked a 1:36.793 lap shortly before returning to the garage for a second time. He held the top spot until the final minute and a half, but was unable to lower his time further a placed sixth. Antonelli was inside the Top 10 early on, and his last attempt at a hot lap was his best of the weekend so far. The 1:37.196 lap puts him 17th, but is not a true reflection of his potential for Sunday.

Tomorrow Bendsneyder and Antonelli will look for a great result at the home GP for Red Bull and KTM, starting at 11:00am local time. Last year, Brad Binder took a podium finish at the Red Bull Ring, finishing second.

Results (Qualifying session)
1. Gabriel Rodrigo (KTM) 1:36.503
2. Juanfran Guevara (KTM) 1:36.615 +0.112
3. Aron Canet (Honda) 1:36.690 +0.187
4. Enea Bastianini (Honda) 1:36.716 +0.213
5. John McPhee (Honda) 1:36.790 +0.287
6. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:36.793 +0.290
17. Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:37.196 +0.693

“I felt good throughout the day, including in the qualifying session. In the afternoon it was a shame that I spent part of the session riding alone. That was good because I was able to ride fast without slipstreams, but other riders were inside large groups and thus achieved better times. On the last lap I also made some mistakes that would have helped me to start from higher up on the grid. I’m happy because we are quite fast here and I want to have a good race; Let’s hope my arm holds up and we can get a good result.”

“Today has been a very good day. I was in pole position for a long time, but I knew I had to complete a better fast lap. On the last stint I encountered a lot of traffic and I made a mistake that prevented me from improving, but I’m very satisfied. We were always between the Top 3 and Top 5, and our pace is good. I can’t wait to race tomorrow. I will give more than 100% to do well in front of our partners and be competitive, and in addition this circuitis one that I like very much.”