Deniz Öncü among fastest riders on first day in Malaysia


The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 duo completed Friday in second and thirteenth position, respectively.

The first practice sessions for the Malaysian Grand Prix took place at the Petronas Sepang International Circuit this Friday, and the Red Bull KTM Ajo duo started on the right foot by placing in provisional Q2 positions. Deniz Öncü finished second on an intense day, while Jose Antonio Rueda climbed his way up to thirteenth.

Practice 1 began with a slight delay due to the track conditions and, once the the action got underway, the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders quickly adapted to the demanding Malaysian circuit. The high temperatures were no impediment for Öncü setting the pace after the opening minutes. The Turkish rider was very consistent and after a pit stop he continued to improve his time, until securing second place with a 2:12.500 on his penultimate lap. Rueda had a good feeling with his KTM since the start of the day, although he worked to adapt to a completely new circuit for him. The Spanish rider made steady progress and in the last part of the session he managed to get into the Top10. With a time of 2:13.042 on his penultimate lap, he finished in sixth position.

The afternoon session allowed the riders to continue working on improving their feeling and fine-tuning their setups for Saturday’s qualifying sessions. The high temperatures affected things even more compared to the morning session, although both riders were able to secure a place in the provisional Q2 positions. Öncü tried to maintain a good pace throughout the practice and fought to climb positions on a very tight timesheet, with up to 16 riders within the same second. He finished eleventh with a time of 2:12.992 and, although he was not able to improve his morning time, was second overall. Rueda continued to improve his feeling and worked on becoming more and more comfortable. The Moto3 rookie completed a total of 12 laps and ended up in thirteenth position, with a time of 2:13.369, eight tenths off the top spot.

The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 duo will face qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Saturday from 12:50 PM local time.

Results (Combined practice sessions P1-P2)
1. Jaume Masia (Honda) 2:12:065
2. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:12.500 +0.435
3. Taiyo Furusato (Honda) 2:12.518 +0.453
4. David Alonso (GasGas) 2:12.555 +0.490
5. Matteo Bertelle (Honda) 2:12.570 +0.505
13. Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:13.042 +0.977


“Today it was very hot, especially in the second practice, but we handled it well. I don’t have pressure, I’m just enjoying the moment because all the pressure is on the other three or four riders. I have nothing to lose and my only target is to ride as best as possible on these three days. We are working well and of course I’ll try to do my best tomorrow in qualifying.”


“Today was positive. From the first moment I had a good feeling on the bike, although we still have to improve some things. We tried stuff out, both in Practice 1 and in Practice 2, which has helped us to see what suits us best for Practice 3 tomorrow. I’m happy, but we have to keep working to be as high up the order as possible.”