– Oliveira’s best 2021 qualification with 4th and just five hundredths of a second from the front row
– Binder foiled by yellow flags but takes the KTM RC16 to 8th on the grid
– Remy Gardner seals his second Moto2 Pole Position of 2021 just ahead of Raul Fernandez
– Antonelli 3rd in Moto3™ as top KTM RC4 qualifier
For the second weekend in a row MotoGP fired into life and the warm and sunny climate of Barcelona and the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was the scene for round seven of the series. Grip was at a premium on the slick asphalt during Free Practice and the teams and riders had to find the best compromise between a tire selection that would deliver the lap-time and also provide enough traction to last the 23-lap race distance.
After their positive technical progression with the RC16 in Mugello last week both the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and the Tech3 KTM Factory Racing squads again showed improved competitiveness during the Friday and Saturday sessions. Binder and Oliveira in particular were roaming the top of the time sheets with 6th and 3rd respectively in FP3 on Saturday morning.
The South African and Portuguese had earned direct entry to Q2 and Oliveira was already eying the top three and a view of a clear track for Sunday’s race. He had another rapid lap annulled after a crash at Turn 10 saw the yellow flags appear. The same incident also affected Binder’s final flying attempt.
Iker Lecuona and Danilo Petrucci will both take-up positions on the sixth row. The Tech3 KTM Factory Racing pair were 16th and 18th respectively after trying hard to make the cut through Q1.
The lights will go out for MotoGP at the slightly earlier time of 13.00 CET on Sunday.
Miguel Oliveira: “A positive day. it’s the best qualification of the season so far. We had a strong FP3 but the conditions were a bit more difficult in the afternoon. I still made the lap-time and then I was a bit unfortunate to find those yellow flags in Turn 10 in Q2. We’re opening the second row of the grid tomorrow and I hope for a good start and to finish the race strong this weekend.”
Brad Binder: “We didn’t have any rear grip in FP4 so we need to figure out why that happened but in qualifying things were not too bad. I didn’t have the best first run, the second was better and then I lost my best lap because of the yellow flags in the left hander before the back straight so I had to roll-out. I had one more ‘go’ but couldn’t make it perfectly. 8th position will have to do for now but I think we could have been better today.”
Iker Lecuona: “Overall, I’m happy because I could improve my pace and my fastest lap. I feel really strong with the bike but I had two pretty heavy crashes. I didn’t find out where the limit is with the hard front tyre, so I didn’t have any warning before my crashes. At the same time, I was always pushing. I’m sorry to the team because I know they need to work very hard now to repair both bikes but I also have to say thank you for the great job. I know now it’s possible to fight in the top group.”
Danilo Petrucci: “As quite often this year, we have been struggling with the new tyre and couldn’t make the best use of it for one single fast lap and just couldn’t make the difference. Our pace is pretty good but Qualifying was again very difficult for us. Tomorrow, we will try our best to make up for it in the race.”
KTM GP Academy
Moto3 Pole Position belonged to Gabriel Rodrigo but the highest KTM RC4 rider was Niccolo Antonelli in 3rd place – just three tenths of a second away – and with a berth on the front row. Countryman Stefano Nepa was 4th. Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jaume Masia took 9th place while teammate and series leader Pedro Acosta will start from 25th and the ninth row.
Red Bull KTM Ajo duo Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez again set the pace in the Moto2 category. The Australian and Spaniard finished 1-2 in the Gran Premio Oakley d’Italia last weekend and fronted Q2 in the same order in Catalunya. Gardner was able to grasp his second Pole Position of 2021 ahead of his rookie teammate; less than two tenths of a second was the difference.
Races: June 6th, 2021 – Moto3 11.20 CET | MotoGP 13.00 CET| Moto2 14.30 CET
Results Qualifying MotoGP Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya
1. Fabio Quartararo (FRA) Yamaha +1.38.853
2. Jack Miller (AUS) Ducati +0.037
3. Johann Zarco (FRA) Ducati +0.196
4. Miguel Oliveira (POR) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +0.246
5. Franco Morbidelli (ITA) Yamaha +0.256
8. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +0.490
16. Iker Lecuona (ESP) Tech3 KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:39.567
18. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Tech3 KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:39.744
Results Qualifying Moto2 Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya
1. Remy Gardner (AUS) Red Bull KTM Ajo 1:42.977
2. Raul Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.158
3. Bo Bendsneyder (NED) +0.423
Results Qualifying Moto3 Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya
1. Gabriel Rodrigo (ARG) Honda 1:47.597
2. Jeremy Alcoba (ESO) Honda +0.317
3. Niccolo Antonelli (ITA) KTM +0.361
9. Jaume Masia (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.903
12. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +1.120
14. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +1.360
25. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo (Q1) 1:49.743