Deniz Öncü finishes Friday at Australian Grand Prix inside Top 520/10/2023
The Turkish rider was fifth, with Jose Antonio Rueda in sixteenth place.
The iconic Phillip Island circuit hosted the first day of practice for the Australian Grand Prix this Friday. The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders worked intensely with their team and were also able to enjoy favourable track conditions. Deniz Öncü was fifth, while Jose Antonio Rueda placed sixteenth.
Practice 1 started with somewhat low temperatures, and was a session in which the riders fine-tuned their setup for the Australian track. Öncü made steady progress from the beginning, although he was unable to reach the top positions. The Turkish rider fought to find a good feeling and, after completing 15 laps, finished in eleventh position with a time of 1:38.613. Rueda approached the session focused on getting to know a new circuit for him. He started the Australian Grand Prix on the right foot, reaching the Top 10 on the timesheets with a time of 1:38.574 achieved on his last lap, putting him tenth.
The afternoon session saw the pair continue working with determination, focused on reaching the Q2 positions. In the first few minutes, Öncü took a big step up compared to Practice 1 and climbed positions. He improved his times and felt much more comfortable with his KTM. Setting a time of 1:37.146 on his 14th lap of 17, he concluded the session in fifth position. Rueda was also able to lower his times, although he still felt slightly off his best. He continued to adapt and completed the session by reducing his best time by more than half a second. However, his 1:38.005 only allowed him to place 16th and he just missed out on the Q2 spots, meaning that he will try to secure a direct spot in the session in the last free practice.
Qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix will begin at 12:50 PM local time on Saturday.
Results (Combined practice times P1-P2)
1. David Muñoz (KTM) 01:36.791
2. Stefano Nepa (KTM) 01:36.864 +0.073
3. Diogo Moreira (KTM) 01:37.111 +0.320
4. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna) 01:37.115 +0.324
5. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 01:37.146 +0.355
16. Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 01:38.005 +1.214
#53 DENIZ ÖNCÜ
“The day was a bit hard but it wasn’t bad overall. In the morning it was a bit windy, but we managed it well and we also took a step forward during the evening. We will fix some issues for tomorrow; we are fast and I’m feeling strong for qualifying here in Australia.”
#99 JOSE ANTONIO RUEDA
“Phillip Island seems like an incredible circuit. It is one of my favourites on the calendar. In Practice 1 we worked on adapting to the track and we had some problems. In Practice 2 we continued to have those issues, but we focused on riding alone to be able to identify them and improve for tomorrow. We have one more chance to go directly into Q2, so we will work on that to do well in qualifying.”