Red Bull KTM and Tech3 KTM Factory Racing riders will tackle the initial Grand Prix of 21 in 2022 tomorrow with Brad Binder the highest-placed qualifier in Qatar thanks to 7th position on the grid at the Lusail International Circuit.
- Binder makes first Q2 session of the season
- Oliveira so close to Q2 cut and takes 14th
- Red Bull KTM riders with strong race pace in FP4
- Tech3 KTM Factory Racing’s Gardner and Fernandez 22nd and 23rd in debut MotoGP qualification
Pleasant temperatures and a strong breeze marked the very first qualification ‘Q1’ and ‘Q2’ periods of 2022 at Lusail as MotoGP pushed through afternoon, dusk and early evening sessions in preparation for round one.
Brad Binder was fast out of the box for the first Free Practice and was P1 on Friday afternoon. The second day of work saw Binder and Miguel Oliveira working on a strong race pace – with top five speed on the RC16 for most of FP4 – and with conditions closest to what the riders will find on Sunday. On his seventh attempt at a ‘flyer’ Brad entered the top-two positions for Q2. The South African then saved his tires for two time-attacks and at one stage held a slot on the front row until being nudged down to 7th. Oliveira was marginal hundredths of a second from emerging out of Q1 and will begin the Qatar Grand Prix from 14th.
Tech3 KTM Factory Racing rookies Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez negotiated the first two days of the MotoGP chapter of their careers, and their efforts in Q1 delivered 22nd and 23rd places respectively for what will be a significant educational step around Lusail tomorrow.
The first 22-lap race of the season will begin at 16.00 CET on Sunday.
Brad Binder: “Today was a solid day. I’m happy with the work we did and after being a little disappointed on Friday afternoon this was much better. I felt good and the bike feels great – the best I’ve ever felt in Qatar – and we’re ready for the race tomorrow.”
Miguel Oliveira: “It was a tough qualifying, nevertheless I felt very good in FP4. We just missed a bit of time in the fourth sector of the lap and that’s where I was losing the most. I’m confident for tomorrow and happy with our work. The starting position doesn’t help us too much but I know we can make a decent start and place ourselves for the first race of the year. We will be in a big group so it will be about managing the tires and hoping to finish with some rubber left.”
Remy Gardner:“It was the first qualifying in MotoGP for me. We want more, but it is just the beginning of the season. We need to learn and study what we did today in order to improve and prepare as much as we can for the race tomorrow. I would like to thank my team for their work, and I cannot wait for tomorrow.”
Raul Fernandez: “It was a difficult day for me today. During the pre–season tests, we were really fast but here in Qatar we are unable to replicate the speed, especially on the braking where we have some difficulties and we are struggling to understand exactly why. We need to study this in order to be ready for tomorrow. Tonight, I will try to get some rest and reset my mindset because I want to enjoy my first MotoGP race.”
Moto2 & Moto3
Jaume Masia, winner of the 2021 Grand Prix of Qatar, will push his Red Bull KTM Ajo RC4 onto the front row of the Moto3 grid tomorrow. The Spaniard ended Q2 with his last and best lap hovering just two tenths of a second away from Pole Position. Masia was the lead KTM rider with Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Deniz Öncü in 12th and Red Bull KTM Ajo rookie Dani Holgado qualifying well in 15th.
Less than three tenths of a second split Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Augusto Fernandez from a first Moto2 Pole Position for the team and the close-knit nature of the class means the Spaniard will take 6th spot on the grid at the end of the second row. Moto2 rookie Pedro Acosta was an impressive 10th quickest after his first Q2 experience in the class and will getaway from the tip of the fourth row. He was denied a final time attack due to a fall at the end of the session.
Races: March 6th, 2022 – Moto3 13.00 CET | Moto2 14.20 CET | MotoGP 16.00 CET
Results Qualifying MotoGP Grand Prix of Qatar
1. Jorge Martin (ESP) Ducati 1:53.011
2. Enea Bastianini (ITA) Ducati +0.147
3. Marc Marquez (ESP) Honda +0.272
4. Jack Miller (AUS) Ducati +0.287
5. Aleix Espargaro (ESP) Aprilia +0.308
7. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +0.339
14. Miguel Oliveira (POR) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:53.819
22. Remy Gardner (AUS) Tech3 KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:54.378
23. Raul Fernandez (ESP) Tech3 KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:54.889
Results Qualifying Moto2 Grand Prix of Qatar
1. Celestino Vietti (ITA) 1:59.082
2. Tony Arbolino (ITA) +0.112
3. Sam Lowes (GBR) +0.144
6. Augusto Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.257
10. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.446
Results Qualifying Moto3 Grand Prix of Qatar
1. Izan Guevara (ESP) GASGAS 2:04.811
2. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) Husqvarna +0.085
3. Jaume Masia (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.212
12. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +1.362
15. Daniel Holgado (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +1.634
23. Adrian Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Tech3 (Q1) 02:06.9970