Binder and Oliveira overcome mixed conditions in Japan


Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 riders claim fifth and sixth place, respectively, on a first day hindered by intermittent rain.


Intermittent rain throughout Friday made things difficult for the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders on the first day of the Japanese GP. The duo of Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira were only able to enjoy 30 minutes of track time in optimal conditions, thus limiting their work plan for the day. However, both ended up satisfied with the few laps they put in, taking fifth and sixth place respectively on the combined timesheets.

The first 45 minutes of Free Practice for the Moto2 field was affected by patchy rain that started to fall right at the beginning of the session. The resulting mixed conditions of the asphalt made riding risky, and Oliveira and Binder decided to put in just three laps, to finish sixth -1:57.420- and sixteenth -1:59.597-, respectively.

In the afternoon, the pair went out quickly to take advantage of a dry surface. Both Binder and Oliveira were able to significantly improve on their times in a first stint consisting of more than ten laps. However, with 15 minutes remaining the rain returned, leaving the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders to stay in the garage for the rest of the session. Binder finished FP2 in fifth place -1:52.640-, followed by Oliveira in sixth -1:52.715.

Qualifying takes place from 3:05pm local time tomorrow, with the aim for the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders being to find a good position on the starting grid for Sunday. Last year, Oliveira took fifth place in qualifying.


Results (Combined practice times FP1-FP2)
1. Iker Lecuona (KTM) 1:52.159
2. Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex) 1:52.278 +0.119
3. Augusto Fernandez (Kalex) 1:52.390 +0.231
4. Fabio Quartararo (Speed Up) 1:52.517 +0.358
5. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:52.640 +0.481
6. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:52.715 +0.556


“In FP1 we practically didn’t ride, since raindrops came down almost as soon as we went out. We weren’t able to test anything out or get any kind of feel for the track. In the afternoon we were able to ride in good conditions in the first half of the session, with some positive first impressions. In order to improve tomorrow, we have to improve braking, because I struggled a little with that today. I am optimistic about tomorrow; in theory it will be good weather so we will try to make the most of FP3 and have a good QP.”

“In the morning we were only able to complete 3 laps, they were done in the dry and it was important to do that, because I had not ridden in such conditions for a long time at this track. In the afternoon it was much better, and we had a strategy of a long stint and a short one, which worked out perfectly -because it started to rain on the last lap of my first run, so I made the most of the time. Overall, I feel good, without any big issues. I feel comfortable and confident. Tomorrow I hope to get the most out of FP3; I hope it’s dry, so I can feel strong in qualifying.”