Jose Antonio Rueda in Top 5 on his return to action


Jose Antonio Rueda finished Friday in fourth position, with Xabi Zurutuza sixteenth.

The French Grand Prix got underway on Friday at Le Mans in ideal track conditions. The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 duo got off to a good start on Friday and both showed progress. Rueda finished fourth in his return to competition, while Xabi Zurutuza was sixteenth.

Sunny conditions proved perfect for the pair to look for their setup for the weekend. Rueda was returning after having made a full recovery, following two races in which he had been unable to participate. He used the first session as a starting point to regain his feeling, and was able to complete a total of 16 laps. He set his best time on his penultimate attempt, with a 1:42.081 which placed him twelfth. Zurutuza undertook his first laps of the French circuit, and adapted well, climbing steadily up the order before taking sixth on his 16th lap of 17th, with a time of 1:41.859.

The Red Bull KTM Ajo duo increased their pace in the afternoon session and worked to stay in the Q2 positions. Rueda reduced the gap to those in front, also improving his lap time by almost a second. He eventually took fourth thanks to a 1:41.201 set on his 13th lap. Zurutuza maintained his solid improvement and fought to enter the Top 14. Along the way, he went quicker than his time from the morning, although his 1:41.728 put him sixteenth. He will fight to go directly into Q2 on Saturday.

Moto3 qualifying will take place on Saturday from 12:50 pm local time.

Results Practice 1
1. David Alonso (CFMoto) 1:40.470
2. Joel Esteban (CFMoto) 1:40.950 +0.480
3. Daniel Holgado (GasGas) 1:41.056 +0.586
4. Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:41.201 +0.731
5. Collin Veijer (Husqvarna) 1:41.215 +0.745
16. Xabi Zurutuza (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:41.728 +1.258



“I’m very happy to be back. Today went very well and I felt very comfortable with the team, the bike and everything. We still have a lot to improve, but we will continue working on it. I am very happy to have finished fourth, after missing a weekend of racing, and to no longer have any discomfort. Let’s hope the weekend continues like this.”


“It has been a very positive day and I am happy ahead of tomorrow. I think we have taken a step forward with our feeling on the bike, so I am looking forward to the second practice tomorrow and trying to improve. This afternoon we will analyse the points where I can improve the most for tomorrow and continue learning. The objective is to try to go straight into Q2, so we will have to work to achieve that.”