Öncü brothers overcome wet conditions in qualifying for Czech GP03/08/2019
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Can Öncü will head the fifth row at Brno, with twin brother Deniz on the ninth for his wildcard debut.
Saturday at the Czech Grand Prix was affected by the appearance of rain early in the morning at Brno. Although no rider was able to improve their times from Friday in FP3, Red Bull KTM Ajo’s pair enjoyed a positive session in preparation for Q1. Can Öncü earned a spot in Q2, despite a crash, and will begin Round 10 of the season from 13th. Twin brother, Deniz Öncü, will be 27th on the grid.
Although the rain stopped minutes before the start of FP3, the Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 duo still had to contend with a wet track surface. Can adapted to the conditions well, and was amongst the Top 5 for much of the session with a consistent pace. He put in a 14-lap run and, on his final hot lap, set a time of 2:17.832, finishing 5th and ending the practice 8 tenths off the top spot. Deniz gained experience in the wet in this session and, after completing a total of 13 laps, was 30th, with a personal best of 2:23.823.
In Q1, Can remained at the sharp end of the timesheets from the start, despite heavy rain at the Czech track. He finished fourth with a 2:19.659 lap, even though he would crash at Turn 3 at the end of the session. Thanks to some quick repair work by his team, the Turkish was able to participate in Q2 and tomorrow will start from 13th position, having clocked a 2:20.373. Deniz claimed 13th in Q1 – 2:22.164 – and will begin his Moto3 World Championship debut from 27th on the grid tomorrow.
The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 team will contest the tenth race of the year, the 18-lap Czech Grand Prix, from 11 am on Sunday.
Results (Qualifying session)
1. Tony Arbolino (Honda) 2:18.020
2. John McPhee (Honda) 2:18.420 +0.400
3. Niccolo Antonelli (Honda) 2:18.822 +0.802
4. Tatsuki Suzuki (Honda) 2:18.853 +0.833
5. Raul Fernandez (KTM) 2:18.875 +0.855
13. Can Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:20.373 +2.353
27. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:22.164 (Q1 time)
61 CAN ÖNCÜ
“We did a superb job. In FP3 we had a great performance, despite the rainy conditions. I had some discomfort in my right foot after yesterday’s crash, so I tried as hard as I could. In Q1 things were quite difficult, since it was raining harder than in the morning session. I tried to relax and hold onto my position after setting my best time, but on the last lap there was more water on the asphalt and I fell when I lost the front end. The team did a great job to repair the bike in time, so I have to thank them for that. We are in 13th for tomorrow, which is a step forward compared to the previous rounds. Race-by-race we are making progress and getting closer to the top riders, so I am happy about that.”
53 DENIZ ÖNCÜ
“The World Championship is another level; there are riders who have a lot of experience and are very fast. This is the first time I have participated in a round, so I’ve never taken part in the Q1 and Q2 format before. That made it doubly difficult, as I had always previously been part of a 40-minute session. I expected to be a little far back, but I’m happy because I’m learning a lot this weekend and we have improved our times in each session. I will give one hundred percent tomorrow in the race, as I’m really keen to do well.”