Hundredths of a second separated KTM from Q2 at the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya as a hot and intense qualification opened the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya and round nine of the current series. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder was the fastest KTM runner from the Q1 shootout and will sit 15th for the race on Sunday.
- Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira take 15th and 16th after Q1 and just hundredths of a second from further progress on Saturday
- Track temperatures near 60 degrees at sizzling Barcelona
- 20th place for Remy Gardner, 24th for Raul Fernandez
- Front row slot in Moto3™ for Red Bull KTM’s Deniz Öncü
The return to the compact but diverse technical challenge of the 14 curves of the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya brought back pleasant memories for KTM thanks to Miguel Oliveira’s victory at the site during the summer of 2021. The brand came to the venue close to the Catalan capital city fresh from a fast and positive showing at Mugello in Italy last weekend and with eagerness to improve their competitiveness further.
The greasy, slick track surface meant issues of traction and tire preservation were the main concerns but Binder held a strong pace on Friday that placed him into the top six. A tumble in FP3 prevented the South African from going straight into Q2 and then his best effort at crunch time on Saturday was just 0.03 of a second from the top position. Oliveira was not far from his teammate. The Portuguese was a mere two tenths of a second adrift of the first two slots for Q2 and will take to the grid in 16th.
A first taste of the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya tarmac with a MotoGP bike was a tough ask for Tech3 KTM Factory Racing rookies Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez. The Australian was ahead of his teammate in 20th as the Spaniard searched for effective feeling and was 24th.
MotoGP maintains the normal race schedule with Moto3 opening Sunday at 11.00, followed by Moto2 at 12.20 and the main event at 14.00 CET.
Brad Binder: “A hard day today. I made some mistakes and we had two crashes that I didn’t expect at all so we need to do something tomorrow to give me a bit of margin. I made life hard for myself and I’m disappointed about that. The bike is working well, I cannot complain, and the speed is also there but I just need something to keep that front stuck to the ground and we’ll be away.”
Miguel Oliveira: “Qualifying was a bit better. It was frustrating to try and work out why we cannot be more competitive so far but for sure it is associated with the low grip here. It is easy to over-ride the bike. The track is quite interesting but it’s a hard one. We’ll look for tomorrow, work out what tires will be the right ones for us and do the best we can.”
Remy Gardner: “I had a better day than expected today. It was unfortunate that I was not able to do more fast laps because I ended up struggling after two laps on the front tire. Considering the laps I did today, I think that I would have been able to grab a few positions as we took some positive steps from yesterday. We have been working on improving the areas where I have been struggling, which is mainly braking. We are trying a lot of different things in order to get the most out of the package we have.”
Raul Fernandez: “We had difficult conditions this afternoon for the qualifying session so I will say that it was not easy at all. I went in with new tires but I did not have enough time to warm it up to be able to do a good enough lap. It is a great shame because that means I will start from the back of the grid. We will do our best tomorrow for the race in front of the Spanish fans.”
Moto3 & Moto2
Dennis Foggia captured Moto3
Pole Position on Saturday afternoon but the top KTM RC4, ridden by Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Deniz Öncü, was just a tenth of a second away in 2nd position. The Turk will start the Grand Prix from the front row for the third time in the last five rounds. There were three other KTMs in the top ten, while Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jaume Masia was less than one second from Foggia’s best lap but will begin the race from 14th.
Daniel Holgado, one of many native riders with experience of the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya from formative championships leading into Moto3, had set a swift pace from Friday’s Free Practice and was a second behind the Pole time in 17th. Adrian Fernandez will settle on the eighth row with 24th.
In the intermediate class Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Augusto Fernandez was half a second from Moto2 Pole sitter Celestino Vietti. The Spaniard qualified in 8th and was four places ahead of teammate Pedro Acosta. Both Acosta and Fernandez have won Grands Prix so far this season and the team will look to try and claim their third Moto2 victory of the campaign tomorrow afternoon.
Results Qualifying MotoGP Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya
1. Aleix Espargaro (ESP) Aprilia 1:38.742
2. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati +0.031
3. Fabio Quartararo (FRA) Yamaha +0.217
4. Johann Zarco (FRA) Ducati +0.285
5. Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA) Ducati +0.357
15. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:39.249
16. Miguel Oliveira (POR) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:39.420
20. Remy Gardner (AUS) Tech3 KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:40.113
24. Raul Fernandez (ESP) Tech3 KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:40.587
Results Qualifying Moto2 Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya
1. Celestino Vietti (ITA) 1:43.823
2. Aron Canet (ESP) +0.008
3. Joe Roberts (USA) +0.179
8. Augusto Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.607
12. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.868
Results Qualifying Moto3 Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya
1. Dennis Foggia (ITA) Honda 1:48.290
2. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +0.138
3. Izan Guevara (ESP) GASGAS +0.247
4. Sergio Garcia (ESP) GASGAS +0.284
5. Ryusei Yamanaka (JPN) KTM +0.403
14. Jaume Masia (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.998
17. Daniel Holgado (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +1.117
24. Adrian Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Tech3 (Q1) 1:50.230