Oliveira and Binder take fifth and sixth in Qatar18/03/2018
Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 riders complete the opening round of the 2018 season with a strong raceday showing.
The 20-lap first Moto2 race of the year, held at the Losail International Circuit, saw plenty of excitement to kick off the season. The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders both performed well after a difficult start: Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder rode alongside one another for the entirety of the contest, crossing the line in fifth and sixth position, respectively.
The start of the race was one of contrasts for the two Red Bull KTM Ajo stars. On the one hand, Oliveira was clipped by another rider on the opening corner, dropping from fourth to eighth on the first sector. Binder slotted in behind his teammate, having gained four places in the early going.
From that moment, the two were part of a group of five riders involved in the fight for fourth place. After several changes of positions, with five laps to go Oliveira was in fifth, followed by Binder, and they held these places through to the chequered flag.
The second round of the season, which takes place from April 6th-8th, will be the Argentinian GP. Last year, Red Bull KTM Ajo achieved their first podium and pole position there through Miguel Oliveira.
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex) 40’19.802
2. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Kalex) +0.112
3. Alex Marquez (Kalex) +5.625
4. Mattia Pasini (Kalex) +6.657
5. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +10.296
6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +10.344
Moto2 World Championship Standing 2018
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex) 25 points
2. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Kalex) 20 points
3. Alex Marquez (Kalex) 16 points
4. Mattia Pasini (Kalex) 13 points
5. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 11 points
6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 10 points
AKI AJO – TEAM MANAGER
“It hasn’t been a bad start to the Moto2 season. We can’t be dissatisfied with the results in Moto2. With the end to last season that we had, we were all expecting some very good results early on this year for our riders. Finishing fifth and sixth is something we have to be happy about; it’s a good start to build on for the coming races. We have to improve our rear grip, as the riders are sliding a lot. We need to analyse what is happening, be positive and look forward.”
44 MIGUEL OLIVEIRA
“It was a very difficult first race of the year. First of all, because we had a bit of a bad start, and then during the race I felt that we lacked a lot of rear grip. Finishing fifth here isn’t a bad result, but I think that our potential was much greater. We were ten seconds off the race winner, so that means that something wasn’t working correctly. Now we will think about what happened, and head to Argentina with the motivation from the fact that last year things went well there. If we continue working like this, we will do good things.”
41 BRAD BINDER
“This wasn’t the race that we were hoping for in Qatar. Throughout the weekend I felt very good, especially this morning in the warmup; I was very comfortable and riding was easy. However, yesterday in qualifying I had some problems with the sandstorm and I struggled to find grip then -although I thought it was a problem with the tyres. Today the track wasn’t sandy but the problem continued, so it wasn’t easy to go fast. The positive thing is that we got some good points from the first race of the year, and it’s a better start to the season than last year.”