- Oliveira lies 17th and a second from the Pole Position time
- Raul Fernandez back on track after missing Portuguese and Spanish rounds with hand problem.
- Jaume Masia takes 3rd place and front row slot in Moto3™
- Pedro Acosta sweeps his first Moto2™ Pole Position with new lap record, Augusto Fernandez is also on the front row
The ‘Bugatti’ circuit at Le Mans mixes history and atmosphere (with a particularly busy attendance in the stands from Friday) and is notorious for changing weather conditions but the climate gave a taste of early summer as MotoGP resumed for round seven and the first visit to central Europe this campaign. The 14-corner layout is demanding for braking and acceleration and the blend between fast and then twisty chicane sections.
The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and Tech3 KTM Factory Racing teams ended Friday with Binder the most competitive runner and looking strong for Q2 thanks to the seventh best lap.
On Saturday the South African could not improve as his rivals continue to chip away at the chrono. Miguel Oliveira was riding sore after two crashes on Friday morning but ended up fractions of a second faster than his teammate as they both tried to squeeze out of Q1.
Remy Gardner was only two tenths of a second away from Binder but will start from 22nd. Raul Fernandez will start the Grand Prix from 24th. The Spanish rookie is making his first appearance since picking-up a right-hand injury in Portugal.
The action at Le Mans begins with Moto3 at 11.00, followed by Moto2 at 12.20 and then the 27-lap MotoGP race at 14.00 CET.
Miguel Oliveira: “Qualifying was difficult. We found some speed but not enough to be fighting for better positions. The team has been trying to work out how we can be faster here in Le Mans but we are just lacking a bit. We are looking forward to the race tomorrow to see what we can do. My FP4 was not too bad so to fight for some points is definitely the goal and if it rains then it’s welcome and we’ll try to use it to our advantage but we want more in the dry.”
Brad Binder: “A difficult weekend so far. FP2 went quite well and this morning I felt good but I didn’t get a good first attempt in qualifying and then the tire for the second was jumping. 18th is not our position but we’ve got to work because we’re missing a little out there. We also weren’t that lucky today.”
Remy Gardner:“Another tough day for us here in Le Mans. Unfortunately, we were unable to do a good fast lap in the qualifying session this afternoon. We need to stay positive and keep working, while I’m hoping that KTM can help us where needed so we can improve our performance. I look forward to the race tomorrow, full gas!”
Raul Fernandez: “It was quite a difficult day for me. After a full day on the bike yesterday, my hand is painful and it is complicated braking here with a wrist that is not at 100%. Tomorrow will be an interesting race because the weather is still a bit uncertain, so we will see what it has in store for us. It is an important race for my team, and I will give my best.”
Moto3 & Moto2
Pole Position in Moto3
was earned by a marginal tenth of a second by Dennis Foggiaand KTM’s highest representative on the RC4 was Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jaume Masia, who was just over a tenth away from the Italian as rookie teammate Daniel Holgado was 14th. Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Deniz Öncü swerved through Q1 to grab 10th place and Adrian Fernandez was 21st.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Pedro Acosta achieved another small milestone in his spectacular and young career with his first Moto2 Pole Position. Le Mans is just his seventh race in the intermediate class. Augusto Fernandez was also on the front row in 3rd place. The Spaniard was looking to increase his speed and get back into podium contention.
On the KTM RC4R, the runners of the 2022 Northern Talent Cup gathered for the first time this year and the opening race of the high-profile feeder series was won by Hungarian Rossi Moor. The youngster finished 3rd in the 2021 series and produced the fastest lap of the sprint to claim victory in France.
Results Qualifying MotoGP SHARK Grand Prix de France
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati 1:30.450
2. Jack Miller (AUS) Ducati +0.069
3. Aleix Espargaro (ESP) Aprilia +0.159
4. Fabio Quartararo (FRA) Yamaha +0.238
5. Enea Bastianini (ITA) Ducati +0.261
17. Miguel Oliveira (POR) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:31.547
18. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:31.610
21. Remy Gardner (AUS) Tech3 KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:31.820
24. Raul Fernandez (ESP) Tech3 KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:32.767
Results Qualifying Moto2 SHARK Grand Prix de France
1. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo 1:35.803
2. Jake Dixon (GBR) +0.118
3. Augusto Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.160
Results Qualifying Moto3 SHARK Grand Prix de France
1. Dennis Foggia (ITA) Honda 1:41.621
2. Tatsuki Suzuki (JPN) Honda +0.151
3. Jaume Masia (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.157
4. Diogo Moreira (BRA) KTM +0.258
5. Carlos Tatay (ESP) CFMOTO +0.340
10. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +0.425
14. Daniel Holgado (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo 0.818
21. Adrian Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Tech3 (Q1) 1:42.851