Miguel Oliveira to start Czech GP from second on the grid


Oliveira and Binder celebrate their renewal with the Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 team with second and tenth position, respectively, in qualifying at Brno.

Miguel Oliveira will start the Czech Grand Prix from the front row of the grid, after placing second in a dry qualifying session at Brno. He was just 0.032s off pole position, whilst teammate Brad Binder took his best Moto2 qualifying result to date with tenth place. The day was a big one for Red Bull KTM Ajo, as in the morning it was announced that the project had been extended for two more years, with both current riders remaining part of the team in 2018.

In the last Free Practice session of the weekend, the Moto2 riders experienced completely different conditions to those of Friday. Ambient temperatures of around 30ºC and a dry track allowed them to improve their times from yesterday. Oliveira and Binder followed different strategies: While the former decided to make a pit stop to fit new tyres -placing eleventh with a 2:03.211 lap-, Binder completed the entire session with a single set -twentieth, 2:03.748.

For qualifying, the track temperature was clocked at a high of 45ºC. Oliveira was up into fourth on his first stint, but it was not until his final run that he was able to lower his time. A magnificent 2:02.643 lap placed him second, 0.032s off pole. Binder has completed his best lap on his second stint. His tenth position -2:03.062- is a big step forward for the South African, who until now had a highest grid position of 17th in the Netherlands.

Satisfied with the work done today, Oliveira and Binder will tomorrow undertake the first race of the second half of the season, starting at 12.20pm local time.


Results (Qualifying Practice)
1. Mattia Pasini (Kalex) 2:02.611
2. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:02.643 +0.032
3. Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) 2:02.661 +0.050
4. Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex) 2:02.686 +0.075
5. Jorge Navarro (Kalex) 2:02.742 +0.131
10. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:03.062 +1.451


“It was a good day. It has been a difficult weekend but in the end we have achieved a good result in qualifying, and I am very happy about it. The feeling on the bike is much better. I am very happy because it has been a difficult start to the second half of the difficult season; this morning I was struggling a lot. Thanks to the team for continuing to improve the bike. I am always faster during the race, so I will try to improve on my starting position and see how we finish.
I am very happy to continue next year with Red Bull KTM Ajo in this class. My debut year in Moto2 has not been easy due to the injuries and despite this, we are getting good results. Miguel [Oliveira] has shown that we can get podiums and I’m sure we can fight for more. I am very eager to continue learning for the fourth consecutive year in this structure.”

“It was a very difficult qualifying session because it was very hot. The conditions were difficult. Our strategy was to try to set a good lap quickly at the beginning, but we ended up getting it at the end. I’m happy to be second but the most important thing is to be on the front two rows. We are ready for tomorrow, whatever the conditions.
I want to add that I am very proud to be able to renew for another year with the Red Bull KTM Ajo team in Moto2. In the rookie year for our project we are already doing big things, at circuits where we had no references, so I am very happy to be able to continue for another season and will look to do even better in 2018.”