Öncü and Rueda start Thailand Grand Prix with confidence


The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 riders place sixth and twelfth, respectively.

The Chang International Circuit hosted the first practice sessions for the Thai Grand Prix on Friday, and both Red Bull KTM Ajo riders fought for places in the Top 10 in which Deniz Öncü was sixth on the combined timesheets, whilst Jose Antonio Rueda finished twelfth.

Practice 1 featured high temperatures and humidity, which increased the demand on the riders. Öncü was very consistent from the get-go and quickly moved into the Top 10, in a session which saw 13 riders lap within a second of each other. The Turkish rider tried to catch up with his fastest rivals, and after 15 laps he set his best time of 1:43.061, putting him in sixth position. Rueda had his first contact with the Thai circuit, but felt comfortable and that was reflected in the results. Rueda was solid in the first session, maintaining a good pace, and this allowed him to finish in eleventh position, with a time of 1:43.288 achieved on his 13th lap of 15.

In the afternoon session, the pair worked on improving their times to remain among the provisional Q2 spots. Öncü continued working with the same strategy and completed a steady session, significantly lowering his times. A 1:42.873 achieved on his last lap took him to sixth at the end of the day. Rueda kept up his good pace and positive feeling, which allowed him to improve on his Practice 1 time. After completing a total of 13 laps, he set the tenth best time with a 1:43.113, putting him twelfth overall.

Moto3 qualifying begins on Saturday at 12:50 PM local time.

Results (Combined practice sessions P1-P2)
1. Jaume Masia (Honda) 1:42.318
2. David Alonso (GasGas) 1:42.430 +0.112
3. Diogo Moreira (KTM) 1:42.555 +0.237
4. Collin Veijer (Husqvarna) 1:42.628 +0.310
5. Ryusei Yamanaka (GasGas) 1:42.745 +0.427
6. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:42.873 +0.555
12. Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:43.113 +0.795


“We’ve started the weekend in Thailand with a good day for us. It’s not the easiest circuit because there are so many straights, but for the moment we are managing this well. We are ready for tomorrow and want to fight for the top again in the last Practice and in qualifying. We’re going to go for it.”


“Today I had a very good feeling with the bike. We know that we can be up at the top, although today we had some unexpected problems. In the end I was not able to set a good time in Practice 2, but I am very happy because I feel very comfortable and we had a good pace with used tyres. The day didn’t end badly and I’m happy with the result. Tomorrow we will work in the same way to continue doing our best, and we will try to set a good time with fresh tyres.”