Miguel Oliveira to take off from second row at inaugural race of 2018


The Portuguese rider will head the second row of the Qatar GP starting grid after finishing fourth in qualifying. Brad Binder will start from Row 5, having set the thirteenth best time.


The starting grid for the first Moto2 Grand Prix of the year was established this afternoon at the Losail International Circuit. Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder continued with the good feeling they had yesterday, completing two positive sessions. In qualifying, the Portuguese took the best result of the pair, with a fourth position. Not so satisfied was his teammate, who for the first time this weekend found himself outside the Top 10 –in thirteenth.

Oliveira and Binder focused on finding a fast race pace in FP3, although their good work meant that they were always in the Top 10 throughout the session. Although no rider on the grid improved their times from yesterday, the Red Bull KTM Ajo duo had an excellent final few minutes to finish third –2:02.126– and fourth –2:02.242– respectively.

Unlike on other occasions, Oliveira and Binder ran a single stop strategy in qualifying. It was on their first stint that they were highest up the order, going into the pits in second and seventh position and with Oliveira setting his best time of the weekend: 2:00.846.

When they went back out on track, both had a hard time upping the pace. Binder would only do so on his final attempt, matching his best time from yesterday. Miguel Oliveira was fourth and Brad Binder thirteenth –2:01.338– respectively, at the end of the session.

The red lights will go out for the first time this year in Moto2 at 17:20h local time –15:20h CET–. Last year, on KTM’s debut in the class, Oliveira took an exceptional fourth place and Binder finished 20th.


Results (Qualifying session)
1. Alex Marquez (Kalex) 2:00.299
2. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Kalex) 2:00.607 +0.308
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex) 2:00.843 +0.544
4. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:00.846 +0.547
5. Romano Fenati (Kalex) 2:00.899 +0.600
13. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:01.338 +1.039


“Today was another positive day, in which we improved our lap times a lot from one session to the next. I’m happy to have taken a spot on the front two rows, which was our aim. I’m also satisfied with our pace.
Tomorrow I will be focused on getting a good start and on avoiding traffic, so that I can get as high up the order as possible, as quickly as possible. Once we’re there, it’s going to be about running the fastest pace I can.”

“Honestly, qualifying didn’t go as we had wanted, and it’s a shame because we had a good feeling from FP3. At the start of the session we struggled a little, and I thought that it was because I was trying to go too fast in the wrong places. In the second stint I tried to reset and start over again, but I didn’t feel that I could get on the gas when I wanted and that stopped me from going fast from corner to corner. I think that we could have got a better result, so I’m disappointed, but fortunately the race is tomorrow and I think that we can do better then.”