Bendsneyder enjoys first day at Phillip Island


Dutchman is one of the standouts on the opening day of the Australian GP, setting the third best time. Niccolo Antonelli completes the first two Free Practice sessions in thirteenth place.


The sixteenth round of the Moto3 World Championship got underway at the spectacular Phillip Island circuit on Friday. On the first day, Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Bo Bendsneyder, was one of the main protagonists in the two Free Practice sessions. The Dutchman was a constant in the Top 5, finishing in third place on the combined timesheets. Teammate Niccolo Antonelli followed closely behind with the thirteenth best time.

Whilst the previous round Japan was wet, Australia’s main issue was cold for the Moto3 riders’ visit. Track temperatures were just 12ºC on Friday morning, providing an issue in addition to the strong winds characteristic of the track. Light rain early in the morning left some areas of the track wet at the beginning of the first session. Bo Bendsneyder -fifth, with a time of 1:38.704- was one of the fastest to adapt to these new conditions, riding amongst the Top 5 from the start to kick off his second Australian GP. As the minutes went by Antonelli also climbed positions, to finish just behind the Dutchman in sixth -1:38.716.

Bendsneyder took another step forward at the start of his second stint in FP2, improving his time from the morning and automatically placing himself at the sharp end of the timesheets. His 1:37.622 lap was so good, in fact, that at the end of the 40 minutes it earned him third place. Antonelli waited until the final third of the session to set a new personal fastest lap, going thirteenth with a 1:38.357 time.

Qualifying takes place tomorrow at 1:35pm local time (4:35am CET). The last Moto3 pole position at Phillip Island was taken by Brad Binder, riding for Red Bull KTM Ajo.


Results (Combined practice times FP1-FP2)
1. Joan Mir (Honda) 1:37.111
2. Aron Canet (Honda) 1:37.341 +0.230
3. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:37.622 +0.511
4. Gabriel Rodrigo (KTM) 1:37.748 +0.637
5. Jorge Martin (Honda) 1:37.887 +0.776
13. Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:38.357 +1.246


“This first day on Phillip Island has gone pretty well. With the used tyres we were fairly fast and consistent -especially in the morning. However, we weren’t able to put in a good fast lap with new tyres. To be honest, I don’t know why, but I wasn’t able to take the ideal lines. This afternoon we will analyse the telemetry, because although things weren’t bad, we can improve a lot for tomorrow. It will be important to find something extra to get a good place on the starting grid.”

“Today was a very positive day here at Phillip Island. I felt very comfortable with the bike, and from the first lap I felt certain that I would be able to keep pushing, step by step. We expect the weather to continue tomorrow as it has been today -or even colder- but for it to stay dry. I hope there is a little less wind. I’m very happy with the results today and looking forward to a good qualifying session tomorrow that allows us to go for it on Sunday in the race.”