Bittersweet second row for Oliveira


Portuguese rider finishes fifth in qualifying for the Japanese GP, after leading the timesheets at several moments. Brad Binder will start from the eighth row.


Miguel Oliveira just missed out on a second consecutive full position on the last lap of qualifying for the Japanese GP. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider dominated the second half of the session, but on a last lap with many changes in position, he was relegated in fifth on the starting grid for tomorrow’s race. For the first time this weekend, the Moto2 riders were able to run slicks, a change with which Brad Binder was not especially comfortable -and he had to settle for 24th place.

Whilst there was no intense rain, FP3 was another session on a completely wet track for the intermediate class. The conditions were not favourable for lower times from Friday, and both riders were around 1 second off their best FP2 laps; Oliveira finished eighth -2:06.892- and Binder 25th -2:08.634.

Qualifying was a session of two halves. In the first stint, the Moto2 riders went out on wet tyres, and  both Oliveira and Binder were inside the Top 10. After a pit stop and a change to slicks, it was the Portuguese who took the initiative. Oliveira was able to adapt quickly to the switch and set the pace at the head of the timesheets until the end of the session. Only on the last lap did he vacate the spot, overtaken by four riders to finish fifth with a best time of 1:54.289. For Binder it was a complicated session, in which one last 1:56.859 lap placed him 24th.

The Moto2 race will be held at 12.20pm local time (5.20am CET). Miguel Oliveira will look for his second consecutive podium at a circuit where, like his teammate, he has already finished inside the Top 3.


Results (Qualifying Session)
1. Takaaki Nakagami (Kalex) 1:53.776
2. Alex Marquez (Kalex) 1:53.904 +0.128
3. Xavi Vierge (Tech3) 1:54.046 +0.270
4. Mattia Pasini (Kalex) 1:54.139 +0.363
5. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:54.289 +0.513
24. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:56.859 +3.083

“Today was a difficult day. In FP3 I suffered a lot, but in qualifying with wet tyres I was fine and I took tenth place. Once the track dried out I wasn’t able to adapt quickly enough to the new conditions. I’m really disappointed to have only qualified in 24th position and I still have a lot of work left to do for tomorrow. We’ll see what conditions we encounter tomorrow, but I’ll do my best.”


“It was a difficult qualifying session because we first rode in the wet, where I felt very good, and then the track started to dry out. I felt comfortable with the dry setup and from the opening laps I was able to push. Unfortunately on the last lap I went wide and had a slower rider ahead, and I could not improve my time and fight for pole position or the front row. The important thing is tomorrow; it will be a very difficult race, and we have a lot of rain forecast so it will be difficult to finish. The goal is to be calm and finish as high up as possible.”