Öncü debuts with Top 10 in the wet


Red Bull KTM Ajo wildcard starts his World Championship career with eighth place on a rainy opening day of the Valencia GP. Darryn Binder finishes nineteenth.


Conditions were far from ideal for Can Öncü’s first experience of Grand Prix action on Friday at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia. The Turkish Red Bull KTM Ajo Junior Academy rider became the youngest participant in a Moto3 GP, starting his wildcard appearance with an eighth place on the combined timesheets. Darryn Binder ended the day in nineteenth, after finishing FP1 in the Top 10.

The first Free Practice session was held under a heavy downpour. Darryn Binder set the eighth fastest time -1:54.111-, despite a crash at Turn 12 with ten minutes remaining. Debutant Can Öncü remained inside the Top 10 throughout the session, finally going ninth with a 1:54.288.

Conditions did not improve in the afternoon, so the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders continued working on the setup of their KTM bikes in the rain. Öncü continued running a great pace, and needed only 4 laps to improve his time from FP1. Despite a small crash at Turn 6, a 1:52.771 lap eventually placed him eighth. Binder, dissatisfied with the changes to his setup at the start of FP2, reverted to his previous configuration to set his best time -1:53.743- of the day on his final lap.

Whatever the conditions, the two riders will try to place as high up on the grid as possible in qualifying tomorrow, starting at 12:35pm local time.



Results (Combined practice times FP1-FP2)
1. Alonso Lopez (Honda) 1:51.873
2. Marco Bezzecchi (KTM) 1:51.912 +0.039
3. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Honda) 1:51.967 +0.094
4. Tatsuki Suzuki (Honda) 1:52.013 +0.140
5. Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Honda) 1:52.216 +0.343
8. Can Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:52.771 +0.898
19. Darryn Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:53.743 +1.870




“It was raining a lot this morning and the track was very wet but, even so, I felt good. Lap after lap I lowered my times although, unfortunately, in the final part of FP1 I made a mistake and I crashed. At the beginning of FP2 I didn’t have the same feeling as in the morning. We made some small changes but they didn’t work as we had expected, so in the second part of the session we took a step back and, little by little, I felt more comfortable and was able to improve my times.
I’m happy and I feel ready for tomorrow; We still have to analyse some things but we will go for it. It doesn’t matter if it rains or not, I’m prepared for any situation.”


“I am very happy because this is a new experience for me; It’s an incredible feeling. At first I was a little afraid, because it was the first time I had got on the bike, but taking into account the wet conditions, the day didn’t go so badly. Lap by lap I improved my feeling with the new bike, so tomorrow I will go out with more confidence.
In the second session the conditions didn’t improve much, but my feeling was much better. We also changed something with the setup that has helped us. Tomorrow we will aim for a great result in qualifying.”