Top 10 for Binder and Oliveira in qualifying for French GP


Red Bull KTM Ajo riders improve their feeling throughout Saturday and will start tomorrow’s race from the third and fourth row, respectively.


Whilst the weekend of the French Grand Prix has not been the easiest of the season so far for Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira, the Red Bull KTM Ajo pair nevertheless managed to obtain positive results in qualifying at Le Mans. Both set their best laps in the grid-defining session, to start from the third and fourth row -in eighth and tenth, respectively- for tomorrow’s race.

The duo used FP3 to test out solutions to problems encountered yesterday, and both made two pit stops. Most satisfied with this 40-minute session was Binder, who was able to lower his time from yesterday and featured in the Top 10 at the halfway point. The final minutes saw Oliveira progress to fourteenth place -1:37.556-, followed closely by the South African in seventeenth -1:37.608.

Although each rider employed a different tyre combination strategy, both Binder and Oliveira clocked their best laps in their third run in qualifying. Before that, in the opening minutes they had improved their times from Free Practice, showing that they had correctly analysed the data from FP3. Late on, the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders tried to get the most out of their newest set of tyres, and ended with fastest laps of 1:36.920 and 1:36.976, respectively.

Tomorrow’s 25-lap race will start at 12:20pm local time. Miguel Oliveira will try to fight for a fourth consecutive podium of the season, while Brad Binder will look to get on the rostrum at Le Mans for the second time, having won the Moto3 race in 2016.


Results (Qualifying session)
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex) 1:36.188
2. Xavi Vierge (Kalex) 1:36.390 +0.202
3. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Kalex) 1:36.583 +0.395
4. Joan Mir (Kalex) 1:36.659 +0.471
5. Marcel Schrotter (Kalex) 1:36.671 +0.483
8. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:36.920 +0.732
10. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:36.976 +0.788


“This morning we had a bit of a tough session. It helped us to understand why we were not moving forward; I didn’t have confidence with the front brake on corner entry. In the end we have been able to solve that issue and at least we have improved my feeling on the bike. We had a consistent qualifying session, in which we were always pushing. On the last stint I had a bit of bad luck with the other riders getting in the way. I could have been a little faster.
Starting from the fourth row at a Grand Prix that we knew was going to be very difficult leaves me satisfied. We will try to take the maximum number of points tomorrow. The race will be hard, as we don’t know what will happen with our tyres because they go off very fast. Let’s hope everything goes well.”

“This weekend started out very tricky and it continues to be so, so getting eighth in qualifying is very good. The conditions are very difficult; it’s easy to lose the front and crash, and there have been many riders who went down throughout the day. Tomorrow it will be important to be smart; for us it will be a race of survival, because I think there will be many crashes. I need to find the right pace for the race during the Warmup and from there we will be ready to face the race with the desire to score as many points as possible.”