Good feelings for Öncü as qualifying day brings mixed conditions


The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 rider finished 11th in Q1 and tomorrow he will start the Thailand Grand Prix race from the seventh row of the grid.

After a positive opening day, the Red Bull KTM Ajo team and Deniz Öncü faced mixed conditions at the Thailand Grand Prix, as qualifying took place on Saturday. The rain prevented Moto3 riders from improving on their Friday times in FP3, so the Turkish youngster went into Q1, where he finished 11th, putting him on the seventh row of the grid for tomorrow’s race.

FP3 was reduced from 40 minutes down to 30, after the start of the session was delayed by more than an hour due to heavy rain at the Thai circuit early in the morning. Once the pit lane was open, Deniz Öncü took to the track with the aim of increasing his experience in the wet, knowing that the conditions would make it impossible to improve on his best Friday time. The 16-year-old rider built up his confidence over the course of the practice, ending 27th, with his personal best coming on his penultimate lap – 1:58.496.

As the rain stopped mid-morning, the Moto3 riders would therefore compete on a dry track in Q1. Öncü pushed to the maximum over the 15 minutes of the session, getting close to the Q2 positions. As the stopwatch hit zero, the Turkish youngster was on a fast lap and, despite making a slight mistake, he registered his personal best of the day – 1:44.174. Ultimately, Deniz placed 11th in Q1 and tomorrow he will start from 21st on the grid, moving up several places due to penalties for other competitors.

The 22-lap Moto3 race at the Thailand Grand Prix will take place tomorrow at 11 am local time.


Results (Qualifying session)
1. Celestino Vietti (KTM) 1:42:599
2. Marcos Ramirez (Honda) 1:42.717 +0.118
3. Albert Arenas (KTM) 1:42.751 +0.152
4. Kaito Toba (Honda) 1:42.897 +0.298
5. Alonso Lopez (Honda) 1:42.967 +0.368
21. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:44.174 (Q1 time)



“Saturday was a good day for me. FP3 was quite hard in such difficult conditions, with a lot of rain that even left some corners totally flooded. In qualifying, I did my best and pushed to the maximum, but on the last attempt I made a mistake in the last sector. I was able to finish the lap, and it was my fastest time, but I didn’t get through to Q2. In general, I’m happy with how the day went and tomorrow we’ll fight to do our best in the race.”