Courtesy of KTM Racing
Qualification for round three of 2020 MotoGP took place in the sun-soaked confines of the fast and slippery Brno circuit and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro was 6th and the fastest of two RC16 riders in the top ten. Brad Binder also impressed and classified 7th quickest, just over half a second away from Pole Position.
The search for grip was a mission around the open and quick curves of Brno. A tired and bumpy asphalt created headaches for teams in the search for traction and the best acceleration as summery conditions meant more warm temperatures (+50 degrees on track) for the MotoGP elite. Espargaro set the pace with the leaders throughout most of the Free Practice sessions and took 3rd and 2nd positions in FP3 and FP4 on Saturday. The Spaniard filled his now-customary slot in the Q2 period. Using a Medium/Soft tire combination Espargaro gunned the KTM RC16 to the 2nd best lap lap-time for a front row berth but missed waved yellow flags on Turn 9 in the wake of Cal Crutchlow’s crash and his chrono was cancelled. His previous effort was good enough for the top six. Brad Binder took the second spot in Q1 to advance to Q2 for the second Grand Prix in succession. The South African edged out Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira (13th on the grid and ahead of Tech3 teammate Iker Lecuona in 16th) by less than a tenth of a second. Binder then charged hard in the final minutes to seal 7th. He will head the third row for the 21-lap chase Sunday afternoon.
Pol Espargaro: “A good morning and a good FP3 to go to Q2 which was the target. I felt really good with the bike and I felt I could be faster. I was confident and I was pushing on the second tire. The yellow flag was in the middle of the corners was impossible to see from my position on the bike. I know we need to respect the flags but they must also do good job in making them visible. I’m frustrated but we showed our potential. The top six and the second row is always good but the lap being taken away was tough. We will reset for tomorrow and we are in a good spot for the race.”
Brad Binder: “Going into FP4 we made a good step with the bike. It’s strange because we did not make any big changes, but it really helped with my feeling on the bike. With more confidence I was able to give it more of a push. I was really happy and did not expect to get 7th because I’d used all my tyres in Q1. I was really shocked at the lap-time I could do. It is awesome to make it to the Q2 for the second time in a row. In general, I feel good and I need to say thanks to the team because they did a great job. I’m looking forward to getting the race underway tomorrow.”
Miguel Oliveira: “Overall, it was a positive day. We knew that going through Q1, it’s going to be difficult. Anyway, I gave my ‘all’ but it was not enough, very tight. I am very positive and confident for the race tomorrow. I feel like it’s going to be a lot different. We are in a good position, we worked well, so we should be relaxed and focused.”
Iker Lecuona: “Today I’m really happy because this morning I managed to improve with the bike and also regarding my pace. I continued to improve. I knew it was possible to have a really good Qualifying and finally, I improved my lap time a lot and I ended up just around one second from the top. So, the gap is very small compared to yesterday and this morning. I’m really happy and want to thank my team for all the hard work. I’m curious to see what we can do in the race.”
Moto2 & Moto3 Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Raul Fernandez celebrated his first ever Moto3 Pole Position thanks to his effort in Q2 that placed the Spaniard two-tenths of a second ahead of Gabriel Rodrigo. The 19-year old was one of two RC4 riders in the top ten; championship leader Albert Arenas being the other. In Moto2 Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jorge Martin was 6th.
Raul Fernandez: “I want to thank the team and my family for the support they have shown me; we have done a great job together. We have said it before: we feel very strong, and little-by-little we are taking steps forward thanks to the good work by my crew. Now we have to finish off the weekend with a strong result in the race. We have a little bit of extra strength in reserve to fight tomorrow at close quarters.”
Races: August 9th, 2020 – Moto3 11.00 | Moto2 12.20 | MotoGP 14.00 CET
Results Qualifying MotoGP Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky2020 1. Johann Zarco (FRA), Ducati 1:55.687 2. Fabio Quartararo (FRA), Yamaha +0.303 3. Franco Morbidelli (ITA), Yamaha +0.311 4. Aleix Espargaro (ESP) Aprilia +0.387 5. Maverick Viñales (ESP) Yamaha +0.444 6. Pol Espargaro (ESP), Red Bull KTM +0.4557. Brad Binder (RSA), Red Bull KTM +0.61213. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Tech3 (Q1) 1:56.328 16. Iker Lecuona (ESP), Red Bull KTM Tech3 (Q1) 1:56.764
Results Qualifying Moto2 Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky 2020 1. Joe Roberts (USA) 2:01.692 2. Sam Lowes (GBR) +0.130 3. Enea Bastianini (ITA) +0.189 6. Jorge Martin (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.59721. Tetsuta Nagashima (JPN) Red Bull KTM Ajo (Q1) 2:02.414
Results Qualifying Moto3 Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky 20201. Raul Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo 2:08.372 2. Gabriel Rodrigo (ARG) Honda +0.211 3. Tatsuki Suzuki (JPN) Honda +0.336