Eleven to heaven for Miguel Oliveira at Mugello

03/06/2018

Incredible comeback sees Red Bull KTM Ajo rider take first win of the season. Brad Binder moves up 13 places to finish in sixth position.

 

A thrilling performance at Mugello on Sunday took Miguel Oliveira to his first victory of the season, as he fought his way through the field and clinched the win on the final lap. His Red Bull KTM Ajo teammate Brad Binder also had a great performance, with his sixth position meaning he has taken four consecutive Top 10 finishes so far in 2018.

Oliveira had a masterclass of a start, as he took off from eleventh on the grid but was already up into fifth coming out of the opening corner. By the time the first lap came to an end, he was riding in third. Oliveira would not leave the podium positions from then on, and would battle with first Pasini and Bagnaia, then late on with Baldassarri. Eventually, it was the Portuguese who took the chequered flag first.

Binder had one of his typical fightbacks during the race. From the seventh row of the grid, the South African gained five places on Lap 1 for twelfth. It was not until the tenth lap that he entered the Top 10, and with 6 laps to go he jumped to sixth -a position that he held onto.

With the 25 points earned today, Miguel Oliveira continues in second in the overall standings and cuts the gap to the series leader to 13 points difference. Brad Binder is eighth with 47 points. In the team standings, the Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 outfit are first with a 3 point advantage.

 

Results (Race)
1. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 39:42.018
2. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Kalex) +0.184
3. Joan Mir (Kalex) +0.334
4. Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex) +0.484
5. Alex Marquez (Kalex) +3.537
6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +5.985

Moto2 World Championship Standing 2018
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex) 111 points
2. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 98 points
3. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Kalex) 84 points
4. Alex Marquez (Kalex) 78 points
5. Joan Mir (Kalex) 64 points
8. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 47 points

 

AKI AJO – TEAM MANAGER
“It’s been incredible. This victory means a lot to us after a difficult weekend and, in general, after a period of two-three races with difficulties. We have never given up, we have never lost hope, and we knew that better times would come around. This is a very important victory and we are very happy about it. Not only has it been an important race because of Miguel [Oliveira] winning; this has been a key day, in terms of results, for the whole team. Brad [Binder] also had a very good race, coming from far back and finishing sixth.
On Friday and Saturday morning the team had many problems. Eventually, in the afternoon we managed to find something on the bike that made the riders feel more comfortable and, although the positions in qualifying were not what we had hoped for, that was the most important thing. This morning in the warmup, we tried new things and took another step forward. In the end, we found a good setup for the race. Thanks to the riders and the whole team for the great work that they have done.”

44 MIGUEL OLIVEIRA
“Starting from so far back on the grid, I knew I had to make a good start. I pushed my hardest on the first lap and, shortly after, I was already up into third. Pasini was very strong and very fast, but I saw that I had a chance to win the race and, simply, I decided to go for it. Baldassarri also had a great pace, and I fought with him until the last lap. It was a very fun and spectacular battle.
I am very happy to have taken this victory that we had been chasing since the beginning of the season. I have to thank the team because they worked really hard, and from FP3 to qualifying we had to change the bike almost completely; in the end, it worked out very well.”

41 BRAD BINDER
“We made a great comeback, because I started from 19th and I finished in sixth. On the first lap, during the first three or four corners, I didn’t feel as fast as I would have liked. But little by little I picked up the pace and was able to ride faster, although I still didn’t feel completely comfortable. In this race we used a setup that we hadn’t used during the weekend. It has its positive side but also some things that we can improve, although overall the bike worked well. Finishing in sixth place is a good result. Now we will have to continue working hard in tomorrow’s test that we have here.”

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