Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 faces complicated qualifying in Australia


Deniz Öncü finishes in seventh position, while Jose Antonio Rueda is twentieth.

This Saturday, qualifying sessions for the Australian Grand Prix were held under somewhat different conditions than on the previous day. Deniz Öncü fought until the end for the top positions on the grid, achieving the seventh fastest time. Jose Antonio Rueda was twentieth and unable to get out of Q1 at Phillip Island.

Practice 3 presented somewhat lower temperatures and high winds on the Australian circuit. Öncü took a big step compared to Friday and felt much more comfortable onboard his KTM. The Turkish rider improved his lap times and occupied the top positions, taking an outstanding second thanks to a time of 1:36.537, achieved on his eleventh attempt of thirteen. Rueda, on the other hand, has still not fully adapted to Phillip Island and struggled to find a good feeling and secure a place in Q2. After 12 laps, he could not lower his best time of the weekend and was only able to finish 25th, with a time of 1:38.454, forcing him to go into Q1.

In that session, he battled throughout to make the cut for Q2, finally setting a better time than in the morning. Unfortunately, that was just one thousandth of a second from taking him into the Top 4. Rueda was sixth with a time of 1:37.814, putting him twentieth overall. He moves up a place, to 19th, after a penalty applied to another rider. Moto3 Q2 provided an intense fight for the top spots on the grid. Öncü continued to improve his times and set the pace early on, then used his final lap to achieve his best time. After some tight closing minutes, his time of 1:37.030 placed him in seventh position and tomorrow he will start the race from the third row.

Due to the weather forecast for this Sunday, the Moto3 class will have a Warmup session for the first time this season, which will begin at 8:20 AM local time. The 21-lap race has been brought forward and will now take place at 10:00 AM.

Results (Qualifying session)
1. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna) 01:36.539
2. Joel Kelso (CFMOTO) 01:36.675 +0.136
3. Stefano Nepa (KTM) 01:36.755 +0.216
4. Diogo Moreira (KTM) 01:36.860 +0.321
5. Matteo Bertelle (Honda) 01:36.978 +0.439
7. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 01:37.030 +0.491
20. Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 01:37.814 +0.276 *Q1 time


“Today we qualified seventh for tomorrow’s race. We are strong and we just have to work a little bit to find a good feeling. During qualifying we couldn’t manage a really good lap time but we will try to do our best tomorrow. Let’s see how the weather forecast is; it seems to be a surprise but we are ready for the race.”


“The truth is that today has not been one of our best days. We have been changing different things on the bike all weekend to see if it would run better, but it is not going as we had hoped. In Q1 we found something that worked a little better, but we still couldn’t move on to Q2 because there were a lot of riders on the track and we couldn’t set a good lap. Tomorrow we will start from quite far back, so we’ll see what the race conditions are like, if there is wind, rain or something else to deal with. We will try to do the best we can.”