Step forward for Can Öncü on opening day in Qatar


Can Öncü and Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 have a positive first two Free Practice sessions of 2019.


The 2019 Moto3 World Championship season got underway this Friday at Losail, as the lower cylinder class field undertook two practice sessions for the Qatar Grand Prix. Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Can Öncü made a strong start, including setting a time almost 1.5 seconds quicker than his fastest lap of the track in the Official Test last week.

Temperatures of 27ºC and no wind meant that the Turkish rookie was able to use FP1 to the fullest, carrying on his work from preseason testing. His focus was on getting more experience with his KTM machine, and during his 16 laps of the Losail International Circuit he set the 27th quickest time in the 40-minute session.

Under the floodlights in FP2, Öncü lowered his time further on his opening stint. He continued to improve throughout the session, and clocked the 13th best lap with a 2:05.547.

Tomorrow sees the debut of a new qualifying format in the Moto3 class, as they will have a Q1 session from 5:30pm local time. The quickest quartet from that session, plus the fastest 14 riders from the combined practice timesheets, will go through to Q2 at 5:55pm. Öncü was one of those Top 14 from Day 1, but will need to secure the spot in FP3 tomorrow.


Results (Combined practice times FP1-FP2)
1. Aron Canet (KTM) 2:04.561
2. Romano Fenati (Honda) 2:05.156 + 0.595
3. Nicolo Antonelli (Honda) 2:05.240 +0.679
4. Andrea Migno (KTM) 2:05.375 +0.814
5. Gabriel Rodrigo (Honda) 2:05.385 +0.824
13. Can Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:05.547 +0.986



“The first day of Free Practice went very well. In FP1 the tyres weren’t favourable for us; we put in some laps with them and tried to analyse what happened. Nevertheless, it was a positive session for us. Above all we are very happy with how the second Free Practice went. At the beginning of the session I was calm, but from the second stint onwards I started pushing and finally we got a good result. The team did a great job and we are satisfied with the work done. I hope that tomorrow we can continue taking steps forward.”