Miguel Oliveira sets the early pace in Malaysia


Portuguese Red Bull KTM Ajo rider goes fastest on the first day of action at Sepang, on his debut outing with a Moto2 bike at the Malaysian track. Brad Binder places twentieth.

After his victory in Australia last week, Miguel Oliveira remained at the head of the pack on day one of the Malaysian GP. At the Sepang International Circuit, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider was the fastest on Friday thanks to his FP1 time. In the afternoon, in wet conditions, Oliveira finished third. Brad Binder, 20th in the dry, took a step forward in the wet for 14th place.

Miguel Oliveira once again sprung a surprise by going fastest in FP1, with a 2:06.856 time. The feat deserved special merit considering that Friday was the first time that the Portuguese had ridden at Sepang with a Moto2 bike -last year he missed the Malaysian round due to injury- and that it was also the first time a KTM Moto2 bike had run at the track. The same situation was experienced by rookie Brad Binder, who completed the 45-minute session in 20th position -2:08.713.

In the afternoon, Oliveira continued his great form with third position in FP2 -2:24.139-, but this time on a completely wet surface in the rain. The Portuguese was comfortable in these difficult conditions and led the way for much of the session, going just 0.063s slower than the best time. Binder made important progress in the final minutes by climbing up to fourteenth place -2:26.896.

Tomorrow sees the penultimate qualifying session of the season in Moto2, taking place at 3.05pm local time -9:05am CET.

Results (Combined practice times FP1-FP2)
1. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:06.856
2. Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) 2:06.929 +0.073
3. Thomas Luthi (Kalex) 2:06.950 +0.094
4. Takaaki Nakagami (Kalex) 2:07.086 +0.230
5. Mattia Pasini (Kalex) 2:07.284 +0.428
20. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:08.713 +1.857


“The morning didn’t go at all badly. It is true that the final position is not good, but I am satisfied with the feeling we found on the bike. It is clear that we still have to continue working on some things, as it’s my first time here with a Moto2 bike and I need to improve. In the rain I didn’t feel completely comfortable, but fourteenth position is better than we have taken at other times, so the result is not that bad either. Let’s see what tomorrow brings, but we will continue pushing to the maximum to find the best way forward.”

“Today went fairly well here in Sepang, both in the morning when it was very hot and the track was dry, and in the afternoon in the wet and rain. We put ourselves in a good position quickly and that gave us confidence. We don’t know what to expect from the weather this weekend, but I think we will be ready if it’s either dry or wet. The goal is to continue with the same work as today and get a place on the starting grid that allows us to go all out in Sunday’s race.”