Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 face demanding opening day under Lusail lights


Pedro Acosta and Albert Arenas finish eighth and eighteenth respectively.

The first practice sessions for the Qatar Grand Prix took place this Friday at the Lusail International Circuit. Pedro Acosta and Albert Arenas worked hard to find a good feeling and consolidate a good position for qualifying. On the combined timesheets, Acosta was eighth, while Arenas could only place eighteenth.

The first practice session was also the first contact with the resurfaced Qatari track. The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 duo focused on adapting to the lack of grip and on fine-tuning the setups of their bikes. Acosta made steady progress, seeking consistency and improving lap by lap. After completing 15 laps, the newly-crowned World Champion had the fourth best time thanks to his 2:01.814 on his penultimate attempt. Arenas worked to occupy the top spots on the timesheets, growing in confidence as the session progressed. He lowered his times with every lap, before claiming eighth place with a last-gasp 2:02.712.

Practice 2 presented conditions similar to those expected for Sunday’s race, which will be held at night. The Red Bull KTM Ajo pair tried to make the most of this session to plan their strategy for the race. Acosta was typically solid, found his setup and went on to lower his times from the opening session, completing 15 laps and setting a late 1:58.854 for eighth place. Arenas had a tough ending to the first day in Qatar. He also focused on the race and assessing his tyre choice. He went under the 2:00 mark and increased his pace in tune with improving track conditions, but his 1:59.710 did not allow him to secure a direct spot in Q2, and he finished Friday in eighteenth position. He will be forced to fight to avoid going into Q1.

Moto2 qualifying will take place on Saturday from 6:45 PM local time.

Results (Combined practice sessions P1-P2)
1. Fermin Aldeguer (Boscoscuro) 1:58.059
2. Aron Canet (Kalex) 1:58.163 +0.104
3. Sam Lowes (Kalex) 1:58.313 +0.254
4. Somkiat Chantra (Kalex) 1:58.367 +0.308
5. Jake Dixon (Kalex) 1:58.434 +0.375
8. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:58.854 +0.795
18. Albert Arenas (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:59.710 +1.651

“In the second session we used a completely different tyre strategy than the rest. We tried something new and we are happy with the work today, even though the position is not the best. Our objective remains the same and today was a day to try things out, because it is one of the few sessions that we will have at night, with conditions similar to in the race. We know which direction to go and tomorrow we will take an important step forward.”

“We can say that the afternoon session was the best and the one that was going to be most useful for us. We dedicated the session to focusing on the race and we sacrificed doing a time attack, although our eventual time was not enough to ensure a spot in Q2. I will take away the positives, which is the work we have done to prepare for Sunday even though the result on the timesheet does not reflect it. Even so, we know that tomorrow it will be important to qualify well to take advantage of the work we have done.”