Tough Friday for Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 at Assen


Deniz Öncü finishes 17th and Jose Antonio Rueda 15th on first practices sessions. 

The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 riders had a difficult start to the Dutch TT. Jose Antonio Rueda and Deniz Öncü focused on finding a good feeling in Assen, finishing fifteenth and seventeenth respectively, and they will have to fight to make their way into Q2 on Saturday.

Practice 1 had an unexpected start for Öncü, as he was hit by another rider in pit lane, but quick work from the team allowed him to rejoin the session. Öncü set the quickest time on his first lap and worked to find a good feeling. The Turkish rider eventually clocked his best time of 1:42.686 on the last lap of the nine he completed and finished in thirteenth position. Rueda had his first experience of the legendary TT Circuit Assen. He focused on adapting to the track and progressively found a good feeling in a session in which there were many crashes. Rueda swiftly acclimatised and improved his times to finish in eleventh with a 1:42.686, achieved on his last lap.

In Practice 2 there were strong winds at Assen, making it difficult for the riders. The Red Bull KTM Ajo duo took to the track to try to secure direct entry into Q2. Öncü suffered a crash in the first part of the session, but again was able to go back out with the help of his crew. Attempting to place amongst the frontrunners, he had his fastest lap -on his final attempt-  ruled out, leaving him with a 1:42.815 that put him eleventh. Rueda worked with the same strategy as in the morning, focused on adapting to the circuit. He completed a solid session and occupied the Q2 positions until the closing moments. Rueda finished Practice 2 in an outstanding ninth position, thanks to a 1:42.562 on his last lap. Whilst he improved his morning time, he placed fifteenth. With teammate Öncü seventeenth, both will fight to gain a place among the Top 14 on Saturday morning.

Moto3 Dutch GP qualifying will take place on Saturday at 12:50 PM local time.

Results (Combined practice times P1 – P2)
1. Jaume Masia (Honda) 1:41.579
2. Stefano Nepa (KTM) 1:41.929 +0.350
3. Romano Fenati (Honda) 1:41.982 +0.403
4. David Muñoz (KTM) 1:42.002 +0.423
5. Xavier Artigas (CFMOTO) 1:42.159 +0.580
15. Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:42.652 +1.073
17. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:42.699 +1.120


Today I didn’t feel 100% comfortable with the conditions and with the bike. I know exactly how I can improve at some points, but when I was trying to do that I crashed. It was a mistake, and I feel bad for the team. We need to find the best way to improve. I still have confidence and I’m convinced that we can find the point in which we are strong.


In Practice 1 I focused on getting to know the circuit, since it’s the first time I’ve ridden here. I liked it a lot and we managed to set a good time. In Practice 2 the wind was quite strong and it was more difficult to go fast. We will keep working to get more comfortable with the bike and tomorrow we should be able to set a good time and get a good position in qualifying.