The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 duo finish sixth and tenth, respectively.
The Japanese Grand Prix started well for the Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 riders. After completing the first two practice sessions, both Deniz Öncü and Jose Antonio Rueda made steady progress and find themselves sixth and tenth, respectively.
The Friday morning session took place with good track conditions. Öncü started the weekend making steady progress, finding a good feeling and breaking into the Top 3 just before his first visit to the garage. After going back out on track, Öncü continued to improve his times, although it was not enough for him to remain in the top spots and, after 14 laps, he finished tenth with a time of 1:58.111, set on his eleventh attempt. Rueda once again faces a new circuit for him this weekend, and quickly found a good feeling. He went on to lower his times in the second part of the session, and would go on to place nineteenth with a 1:58.736, set on his penultimate lap.
In Practice 2, both riders managed to take another step forward with their preparation for Sunday’s race. Deniz Öncü and Jose Antonio Rueda improved their times and both entered the Top 10 overall. Öncü fought to gain a foothold in the top spots, placing fifth thanks to his 1:57.277 time on his 12th lap of 14. Jose Antonio Rueda continued working on his adaptation to the track, and in the afternoon session he seemed much more comfortable, working to earn a spot in Q2 with 10 minutes remaining. The Moto3 rookie was eventually eighth after having lowered his fastest time by more than a second, setting a 1:57.473. With these results, Öncü and Rueda finished the day sixth and tenth on the combined timesheets.
Moto3 qualifying will take place on Saturday from 12:50 PM at Mobility Resort Motegi.
Results (Combined practice times P1 – P2)
1. Jaume Masia (Honda) 1:57.068
2. Ivan Ortola (KTM) 1:57.176 +0.108
3. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna) 1:57.191 +0.123
4. Daniel Holgado (KTM) 1:52.226 +0.158
5. Diogo Moreira (KTM) 1:57.260 +0.192
6. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:57.277 +0.209
10. José Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:57.473 +0.405
#53 DENIZ ÖNCÜ
“We have started the weekend pretty well. My riding is good, the speed is there and we are ready to fight for the win. Our corner speed is not great, so this is our weak point for the weekend because of the lack of acceleration on the straights, but we can manage it and we will try again tomorrow.”
#99 JOSE ANTONIO RUEDA
“We have completed the first day in Japan. It is another new circuit but I really liked it. On the last two sectors it was a little more difficult, but the first contact this morning helped us to be able to find our references. In Practice 2 we made some changes and we took a big step forward: I noticed it a lot and I have a better feeling. I think we can do well tomorrow, but we will have to keep an eye on the weather.”