Öncü and Rueda complete first day of French GP in Top 10


Jose Antonio Rueda sets the sixth fastest time, with Deniz Öncü in ninth position.

The French Grand Prix got underway Friday with the first practice sessions of the weekend. The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 riders were competitive throughout the day, as Deniz Öncü set the ninth fastest time overall and Jose Antonio Rueda was sixth.

The first Moto3 session of the day took place in cold temperatures, which caused numerous crashes. The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders focused on finding a good feeling and steadily increasing their pace. Öncü moved into the Top 3 early and remained there for practically the entirety of Practice 1, even after a crash at Turn 7. His best time, a 1:43.152 on his 12th lap of 14, earned him third. Rueda made more gradual improvements after starting out amongst the Top 5. After a pit stop, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider further lowered his times and took sixth place, thanks to a 1:43.596 on his penultimate lap.

In the afternoon session, the rise in temperatures at Le Mans allowed both Öncü and Rueda to improve their times after the opening laps. Öncü set the pace and felt more and more comfortable as the session progressed, going on to complete a total of 15 laps, earning the ninth fastest time with a 1:42.663. Rueda took a step forward and progressively climbed positions in a tight Practice 2. The Moto3 rookie was sixth thanks to his 1:42.342, set on his 12th lap of 16. Both riders will work to confirm their path straight through to Q2. Finally, Rueda and Öncü finished sixth and tenth respectively in the overall standings.

Moto3 qualifying will begin on Saturday at 12:50 PM local time at Le Mans Circuit.

Results (Combined practice times P1 – P2)
1. Jaume Masia (Honda) 1:41.846
2. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna) 1:41.983 +0.137
3. Xavier Artigas (CFMoto) 1:42.164 +0.318
4. Romano Fenati (Honda) 1:42.192 +0.346
5. Daniel Holgado (KTM) 1:42.259 +0.413
6. Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:42.342 +0.496
10. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:42.663 +0.817


“That’s the first day done. Honestly, I’m ok after the crash in practice. I want to thank the team because they worked fast to fix the bike and get me back on track. In general, I’m feeling good and we just have to find the last steps to set the bike up to get my best feeling. Tomorrow we will push more to get a good place on the grid.”


“This first day at Le Mans went quite well. I managed to improve my time from last year and we got sixth position, only 4 or 5 tenths off the top spot. I’m happy with how the bike is running and with the work by the team. We know what we have to improve to be faster, but we are getting there. I have a good feeling for tomorrow; our goal is to go straight into Q2 and, once there, try to fight for the Top 5, although we will have to keep an eye on the conditions.”