Fernandez fastest on Friday in Qatar


The Spaniard heads the combined FP1 and FP2 timesheets on his second Moto2 appearance. Gardner finishes third to complete a promising start for the team.


The Doha GP began in flawless fashion for Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2, who ended the day with both of the team’s riders inside the Top 3. In just his second Grand Prix in the intermediate class, Raul Fernandez was the fastest competitor on Friday, heading Free Practice 2 with an advantage of more than half a second. Teammate Remy Gardner capped off a great day for the team, finishing third on the combined FP1 and FP2 standings. Both earned provisional spots in Q2 tomorrow.

With track temperatures exceeding 50ºC, the Red Bull KTM Ajo duo opted for calm and caution in FP1. Nevertheless, Fernandez was able to set the fifth fastest time of the session – a 2:00.439 -, showing once again that he has adapted quickly to the Moto2 class. The Spaniard put in 12 laps of the Qatari track, whilst Gardner completed 13. The Australian rider ended in 23rd place, stopping the clock at 2:01.269.

FP2 took place after nightfall, with more pleasant temperatures for the intermediate class competitors. Fernandez made the most of the improved conditions, confirming his good feeling from FP1 and setting the best time of the session. His 1:58.541 lap was over 0.5 seconds quicker than any other rival. Like his teammate, Gardner rode 15 laps in the late practice, ending the day in third position – 1:59.188.

The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 duo will have one last chance to fine-tune their setups in FP3 tomorrow at midday. In the afternoon, Q1 will start at 6:25 PM local time, followed by Q2 at 6:50 PM.


Results (Combined practice times FP1-FP2)

1. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:58.541
2. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Kalex) 1:59.058 +0.517
3. Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:59.188 +0.647
4. Marco Bezzecchi (Kalex) 1:59.208 +0.667
5. Joe Roberts (Kalex) 1:59.213 +0.672



“We had a positive Friday. We struggled a bit with the heat in FP1, but in the afternoon we were fast again, so I’m quite happy with that. Our pace is good, although tomorrow we need to take a step forward in that regard. The wind will play an important role in qualifying, so we will see what we are capable of doing on Saturday. As always, the team and I will give our one hundred percent.”


“I’m very happy with how the day went, especially since we took a step forward in terms of how comfortable I feel on the bike. I’m satisfied. Finishing Friday in the top spot always motivates you, but the important thing is the pace we have. Now we have to keep working to try to be a little more consistent. The setup of the bike is the best we have achieved so far this year. That’s why our aim now is to continue moving in the same direction and stay calm.”