Oliveira makes strong Moto2 Motegi debut in the rain


Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder make first appearance with a Moto2 bike in Japan with the third and twenty-third best times in the first day of practice.

Although he had never ridden a Moto2 at Twin Ring Motegi before, that did not prove to be a problem for Miguel Oliveira on Friday. The Portuguese was eighth in FP1 and took a definitive step forward in the second session, with the third best time of the day. Rookie Brad Binder was twenty-third after improving his times in the afternoon, of what was a wet day at the Japanese GP.

The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders were not provided with the best conditions in which to learn the layout of Motegi with a Moto2 bike. They had to complete the first 45 minutes of practice on a completely wet surface. Despite this, Oliveira was able to rise to the challenge and go eighth fastest -2:06.982. Binder was twenty-third -2:08.636.

The conditions in the afternoon remained the same, but Oliveira and Binder showed that they could be much faster. The Portuguese set his best time of the day at the end of his first stint, taking and holding onto third with his 2:05.807 lap. Oliveira was one of three riders who were able to ride below the 2:06 mark. Binder also completed his best lap of the day -2:07.906- and did so after a 12-lap run.

Tomorrow both riders will fight for a positive position on the grid in qualifying at 3:05 local time, to avoid having to climb up the order on race day.

Results (Combined practice times FP1-FP2)
1. Thomas Luthi (Kalex) 2:05.282
2. Alex Marquez (Kalex) 2:05.460 +0.178
3. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:05.807 +0.525
4. Hafizh Syahrin (Kalex) 2:06.212 +0.930
5. Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) 2:06.220 +0.938
23. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:07.906 +2.624


“Today was a very wet first day. It was raining all day and if we have to look on a positive side, at least that meant that the track was completely wet. My feeling wasn’t bad at all, but I do believe that I have to improve my lines in wet conditions here. I don’t have enough confidence to decide to push more. Overall I’m happy, because every lap I’ve improved and this is important. It’s true that in the morning things didn’t go as we wanted and the final position of the day isn’t what we were aiming for, but in the afternoon we already made a step forward and tomorrow we will continue working and will surely improve.”

“This first day in Japan has gone well, although it rained both in the morning and in the afternoon and there was a lot of water on the track. We did a good job; I’m happy with the setup for the bike that we found, so I am comfortable under these conditions. We have to see what conditions we find tomorrow in qualifying, but if they are similar to today’s then I hope we continue in this same way.”