Oliveira takes special front row start at Red Bull Ring11/08/2018
Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 rider claims second place in qualifying, to start from the front row for the first time this year. Brad Binder will take off from eighth for the team’s home Grand Prix.
Although nobody had expected it after a wet morning, the Moto2 class enjoyed a completely dry qualifying session for the Austrian GP. The World Championship leader, Miguel Oliveira, took advantage of the conditions, claiming second place and his first spot on the front row this season. Brad Binder also achieved a great result in only the second dry session of the weekend, and his eighth place puts him in the centre of the third row.
Free Practice 3 was a wet session for the Red Bull KTM Ajo pair, who used their 45 minutes of track time to work on setups for a possible wet qualifying run. They steadily improved their lap times and felt ever more comfortable as the session progressed, with their final positions on the timesheets being seventh -Oliveira, with a 1:39.399- and fifteenth -Binder, with a 1:40.958. Oliveira crashed late on when hit by another rider at Turn 1, but emerged unscathed.
The appearance of the sun and the path cleared by the MotoGP bikes in the previous session left the track completely dry for qualifying. With the slicks back on, there was a change to the normal strategy from the intermediate class, as the grid spots were not decided early on. Both Oliveira and Binder set their best times on their final stints, with the former always inside the Top 3 and placing second -1:29.719-, while the latter lept up the standings on his 21st lap for eighth -1:30.125.
After wins at Sachsenring for Binder and Brno for Miguel Oliveira, the Red Bull KTM Ajo team will try for a third consecutive victory tomorrow. The Moto2 25-lap Austrian GP will start at 12:20pm local time.
Results (Qualifying session)
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex) 1:29.409
2. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:29.719 +0.310
3. Fabio Quartararo (Speed Up) 1:29.930 +0.521
4. Jorge Navarro (Kalex) 1:29.971 +0.562
5. Alex Marquez (Kalex) 1:30.058 +0.649
8. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:30.125 +0.716
44 MIGUEL OLIVEIRA
“It’s been a difficult weekend due to the weather conditions, so we had very little time to adjust the bike setup for dry conditions. However, from the early stages of qualifying my bike was already performing well. We suffered a bit of sliding coming into the corners, but in the end we were able to set a good lap that allowed us to claim our first front row of the year. We are happy about that!
Ahead of tomorrow’s race, we first have to analyse qualifying, because as we’ve only had two dry sessions it will be important to understand who has the best pace. As always, our goal is to fight for the victory and try to make as few mistakes as possible.”
41 BRAD BINDER
“Considering how I started qualifying, I’m happy with this eighth position. I had problems at the beginning, but luckily when I came back to the garage and told the team what happened, they were able to solve the issue quickly and I felt better. Thanks to the team for working so fast, because without them I would not have achieved this position.
Tomorrow I hope to have a good feeling during the warm up and then have a great race, but overall I feel good. I’m not too worried about the track conditions that we might encounter tomorrow. Whether it’s dry or wet, I know I can do a good job, but I’d prefer the race to be dry. We will see what we can do at this GP, which is so special for us.”