Courtesy of KTM Racing
|Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team relied on lone representative Bradley Smith to take the KTM RC16 to 13th position in Qualification at the Red Bull Ring today. The Brit was only a second away from Marc Marquez’ Pole Position effort and will line-up first on the fifth row of the grid for the 28-lap eleventh round of nineteen in MotoGP tomorrow. Championship leader Miguel Oliveira starts from second position with his KTM Moto2 bike, Moto3 leader Marco Bezzecchi did the fastest lap time in qualifying on the KTM RC250 GP.|
With Pol Espargaro and Mika Kallio absent through injury it was left to Bradley Smith to set up KTM’s flagship racing machine for one of the fastest circuits on the MotoGP calendar. Changeable conditions made for some complicated work at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg and through the four Free Practice sessions. Smith excelled in the wet and classified second in FP3 on the KTM RC16 MotoGP bike.
#38 set his best lap-time with his second-to-last run in Q1 this afternoon and missed out on his first Q2 appearance by just five hundredths of a second. He beat Valentino Rossi (in 14th) and ended up just a second from World Champion Marc Marquez. His feat was an improvement of almost half a second from 2017.
Smith: “It was frustrating not to get into Q2 and I should have done it on the first flying run but I made a mistake into Turn 4 and then I’m sure 0.05 was about the tyre not accelerating a bit better out of the last corner (on the second run). It is weird to be frustrated in a situation where we are 13th but I feel we had the pace to be in Q2 today. Anyway tomorrow is when it counts and when it’s about points. I had good pace on the Medium tyre in FP4. We’ll try and analyse everything we can for tomorrow when we’ll have another chance. I’m happy we can keep on improving our current bike because that bodes well when the new one comes along. The top ten is possible tomorrow. It will be very close. The start will be everything and tyre choice as well.”
Sebastian Risse (Technical Director MotoGP): “Considering all the pressure and expectation here Bradley is doing an excellent job for us. Having just one rider instead of three does not make it easier for anybody; we miss data and information and especially with quite ‘special’ track conditions in a lot of the sessions. The bike works well here and we are still working on things because some corners are demanding. The track looks quite simple on the map and amazing when you are standing next to it but you have to set up the bike in a particular way. Tyre choice will be a bit of a gamble because nobody could get a lot of experience with the range in all conditions. I don’t think we are in a bad spot and we just missed Q2 by a little bit. The dominant feeling is one of positivity and we’ll try to make the most of it tomorrow.”
Moto2 & Moto3
Despite a dramatic collision in Free Practice with Iker Lecuona (in which he was blameless) Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miguel Oliveira was in contention for Moto2 Pole Position and finally took second place for his highest Qualification performance of the season so far o nthe KTM Moto2. Teammate Brad Binder, on his 23rd birthday, was eighth fastest.
Oliveira: “It’s been a difficult weekend due to the weather conditions, so we had very little time to adjust the bike setup for dry conditions. However, from the early stages of qualifying my bike was already performing well. We suffered a bit of sliding coming into the corners, but in the end we were able to set a good lap that allowed us to claim our first front row of the year. We are happy about that! Ahead of tomorrow’s race, we first have to analyse qualifying, because as we’ve only had two dry sessions it will be important to understand who has the best pace. As always, our goal is to fight for the victory and try to make as few mistakes as possible.”
Marco Bezzecchi shaded Jorge Martin to obtain his very first Moto3 Pole Position and was ahead of another KTM RC250 GP rider as Albert Arenas filled third place.
Races: August 12, 2018 – Moto3 11:00 | Moto2 12:20 | MotoGP 14:00 | Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup 15:30 CET
Results Qualifying Moto2 Red Bull Ring, Spielberg 2018
Results Qualifying Moto3 Red Bull Ring, Spielberg 2018