Red Bull KTM Ajo team both in Top 10 in Barcelona15/06/2018
Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira completed the first day of the Catalan GP in eighth and tenth position, respectively, less than 4 tenths off the top spot.
On the first day of Catalan GP, the good work that many teams, including Red Bull KTM Ajo, carried out at the end of May in a test, paid off with fast times. The Moto2 field had adapted well to the new asphalt and a new Turn 13 at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit, and the pace was so even that the tenth best time, set by Miguel Oliveira, was just 351 thousandths of a second off the top spot. Brad Binder was eighth, ending the day satisfied.
The setup worked on in the test allowed the Red Bull KTM Ajo duo to head the timesheets in the opening minutes of the FP1. Binder and Oliveira followed similar strategies and both made just a single stop in the pits after long runs, ending the session with new tyres. The South African finished seventh -1:44.512- just 2 tenths off the top spot and 64 thousandths faster than his teammate in eighth -1:44.576.
The 44°C track temperature provided a new variable for FP2. It meant that very few riders would lower their previous times, and both Oliveira and Binder were thousands of a second off doing so. Back among the fastest riders and still inside the Top 10, Oliveira was fifth -1:44.592- and Binder sixth -1:44.635. The Portuguese suffered a crash on the fast Turn 9 with 6 minutes remaining, but escaped unharmed.
Moto2 qualifying takes place tomorrow at 3:05pm local time, and both Binder and Oliveira will look for a position on the starting grid higher up than at Mugello a fortnight ago.
Results (Combined practice times FP1-FP2)
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex) 1:44.225
2. Alex Marquez (Kalex) +0.115
3. Marcel Schrotter (Kalex) +0.115
4. Joan Mir (Kalex) +0.115
5. Augusto Fernandez (Kalex) +0.135
8. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +0.287
10. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +0.351
44 MIGUEL OLIVEIRA
“It has been a very good day, I felt very comfortable with the bike at all times. In FP2 the conditions were more difficult but we matched our times, which is very positive. When we put on the new tyre I was pushing hard, and on my first lap I lost the front on a fast corner and unfortunately went down. I hit my right elbow, which has swollen up, but it isn’t anything serious and tomorrow we will be able to work like always. We have a good pace; the crash prevented me from looking for our fastest lap, but I am very happy about how the bike is behaving. Doing the test here three weeks ago has helped, as we have been able to find our way much more easily. Tomorrow we have to continue like that.”
41 BRAD BINDER
“The times in the two sessions were similar, but in the afternoon it was much harder because it was so much hotter. In FP1, I felt comfortable, which surprised me a little; I didn’t expect it, because unlike on other occasions, we set both a good lap time and a good race pace. In the afternoon, with the high temperatures it was much more difficult. We had pace but when we put on new tyres we couldn’t perform to what I think is 100% of our potential. I am satisfied with P8 today; I think tomorrow we can find something extra. For tomorrow, it is very important that we work on our race pace. I know I can have a good race because I feel comfortable on the bike. Now we have to focus on having a good qualifying session.”