Top 10 for Oliveira and Binder on first day in Qatar


Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 riders complete two positive Free Practice sessions and finish the day in 6th and 9th position, respectively.


The countdown came to an end this Friday and the 2018 Moto2 World Championship season got underway at the Losail International Circuit. The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders carried on from their good preseason performances in FP1 and FP2, and were permanent fixtures in the Top 10. In the combined final timesheet, Oliveira was sixth and Binder ninth; 11 riders were separated by just half a second.

The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders adapted perfectly to FP1 taking place by day, with an asphalt temperature of 43ºC. The Portuguese led most of the session, running the best pace and consistently setting similar lap times to finish second with a 2:01.837. Binder also had a good start, with the tenth best time of 2:02.352 -just 7 tenths off the fastest rider.

With the floodlights on for FP2, both riders improved on their previous best times in the first half of the session. Both looked to work on their race pace, but Oliveira and Binder followed different strategies. While the former, who placed sixth, made two pit stops and set his best time of 2:01.106 on his final run, Binder only stopped once, just after clocking his best time of 2:01.324 -ninth.

Tomorrow the pair will try to set quick times in qualifying to place as far ahead on the grid as possible. The session starts at 5:40pm local time -3:40pm CET. Last year, Moto2 QP was cancelled due to rain.


Results (Combined practice times FP1-FP2)
1. Alex Marquez (Kalex) 2:00.932
2. Sam Lowes (KTM) 2:00.970 +0.038
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex) 2:00.985 +0.053
4. Marcel Schrotter (Kalex) 2:01.055 +0.123
5. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Kalex) 2:01.060 +0.128
6. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:01.106 +0.174
9. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:01.324 +0.392


“This first day of free practice in Qatar has gone quite well. We had a very positive day, going second in the first session and sixth in FP2, very close to the top since the times are very tight. Tomorrow we will continue working hard to find a better feeling with the tyres and with the rear suspension. I am very happy with how we have started this first GP of the year.”


“This first day of the season here in Qatar has gone very well. With every lap I did, both in FP1 and in FP2, I felt more comfortable. We tried different setups with different tyre compounds and we felt quite comfortable with all of them, so it has been very positive. In FP3 tomorrow we must work more on aspects relating to the race and finish the day with a good result in qualifying, to allow us to start from a spot that gives us the best chance on Sunday.”