Red Bull KTM Ajo battle intense heat on opening day of Doha GP


Jaume Masia and Pedro Acosta earn provisional spots in Q2 after finishing sixth and ninth, respectively, on the combined Friday timesheets.


The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 talents were back out on track in Losail today, with a hot start to the weekend’s Doha Grand Prix. Despite the high temperatures, Jaume Masia would top the timesheets in Free Practice 1 and place sixth overall. His teammate, Pedro Acosta, continued to gain experience on his KTM bike and was ninth in the combined Friday standings, meaning that both riders have provisional places in tomorrow’s Qualifying 2 session.

Masia picked up from where he left off last week and was the man to beat in FP1. He headed the session with a time of 2:05.360, half a second ahead of his nearest rival. The Spaniard completed 12 laps in a practice affected by temperatures that reached 52ºC on track. Meanwhile, Acosta put in 11 laps, and on his penultimate attempt clocked a best time of 2:07.029, for 20th place.

A much-welcomed drop in temperatures for FP2 allowed the two Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 talents to improve their times from the get-go. Masia was once again one of the most competitive riders in the session, finishing it in sixth position thanks to a 2:05.078, 2 tenths off the top spot. The Spaniard laid down a further 11 laps of the Losail International Circuit, the same amount as his teammate. Acosta took a leap forward at the end of the day, rounding off Friday with a personal best of 2:05.169 that put him in ninth.

Tomorrow the Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 duo will face a final 40-minute Free Practice session. Q1 for the Doha GP will start at 5:30 PM local time, followed by Q2 at 5:55 PM.


Results (Combined practice times FP1-FP2)

1. Darryn Binder (Honda) 2:04.781
2. Sergio Garcia (GasGas) 2:04.821 +0.040
3. Gabriel Rodrigo (Honda) 2:04.893 +0.112
4. John McPhee (Honda) 2:04.968 +0.187
5. Tatsuki Suzuki (Honda) 2:05.023 +0.242
6. Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:05.078 +0.297
9. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:05.169 +0.388



“I’m happy, as we achieved our target, which was to finish in the Top 14 on Friday and get the provisional spot in Q2. Now we have to wait and see if the times improve in Free Practice 3 or not tomorrow. The team did a good job throughout the day, and we must attempt to continue on this same path.”


“It was a tough day due to the high temperatures, especially in the first Free Practice session. I made a small mistake, but the team worked very hard ahead of FP2 and we eventually managed to provisionally qualify for Q2. That was the most important thing today, and we achieved it. Tomorrow we will continue to push to continue taking steps forward.”