For the second Grand Prix in a row, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder was the lead qualifier as the South African made the cut from Q1 to Q2 and will line-up in 12th place for the 23-lap race at MotorLand Aragon on Sunday.
– Brad Binder slices through to Q2 and leads the KTM quartet in close Spanish qualification
– Iker Lecuona almost makes Q2 but takes 13th
– Öncü, 6th quickest, lines-up on the second row of the grid in Moto3™
– Gardner and Fernandez on the front row of Moto2™ with 2nd and 3rd places respectively
– David Alonso wraps strong Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup with 2021 title
The technical layout of MotorLand Aragon gave 2021 MotoGP its latest challenge and remained fresh in the riders’ minds for feeling and set-up after the double-header that took place at the eastern Spanish venue last autumn. The championship negotiated the circuit for only one appointment and the thirteenth round of eighteen on the current calendar but enjoyed warm and bright conditions for the crucial Free Practice sessions on Saturday and the flurry of fast laps in both Q1 and Q2.
The quickest KTM RC16 rider on the day and among a very tight contest with 11 names split by just 1.1 seconds was Brad Binder. The Styrian Grand Prix winner grabbed 2nd place in Q1 and transferred into Q2 for the second meeting in succession. Binder was handicapped by having used the best options from his tire allocation and could not push to the maximum in the short decider for the first three rows of the grid.
Tech3 KTM Factory Racing pairing Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona negotiated Q1 and were eying Q2 entry. In the end the Spaniard classified 13th – for what was his third event of the year on home turf – and the Italian was 16th, both just fractions of a second away from elimination. Miguel Oliveira will start from 18th but the Portuguese showed strong race pace through FP4 and is optimistic of a fighting comeback for the race. He missed out on direct Q2 status after yellow flags forced him to cancel his flying lap in FP3.
The MotoGP lights will go out on Sunday at 14.00 CET.
Brad Binder: “I’m happy we made it through to Q2 but unfortunately we didn’t have the tires to make the most of it. I tried my best to make a lap-time from a used one from Q1 but just didn’t have the grip. I struggled to do anything In Q2. Overall, we can be happy with the step we have made today. Now we’ll give our all tomorrow.”
Danilo Petrucci:“We had a decent Qualifying. I have a really good feeling on the bike, although it’s not perfect yet. The race tomorrow will be very tough, especially with regards to the choice of the rear tyre. I still struggle in acceleration, but we will try our best. I’m quite satisfied about today and we will try to further improve our feeling tomorrow morning.”
Iker Lecuona: “I’m quite satisfied with today. We improved a lot. In the morning we worked very hard and have been pretty close to the top guys. Everybody was so close together, so it was difficult to make it directly to Q2. I have a very consistent pace for the race and I feel very strong. Plus, I did one of my best Qualifyings this season and overall in the MotoGP class. Finally, I have a good base in order to fight for the top tomorrow.”
Miguel Oliveira: “It was a strange qualifying after the good feeling we had in FP4 the new tires didn’t make much difference. We had vibration and no grip so we need to understand and analyze the reason why. The race will be long tomorrow and we still have a very good chance to get some decent points.”
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Moto3 Pole Position was snared by Darryn Binder but Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Deniz Öncü was consistently quick on his KTM RC4. The Turk was fastest on combined times after Friday’s sessions and emerged from Q2 with 6th position and just over half a second away from the South African. Niccolo Antonelli, scorer of 2nd position in the previous Grand Prix in Great Britain, was 8th on the grid and marginally ahead of championship leader Pedro Acosta in 9th.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Remy Gardner was the front-runner in Moto2
in the wake of FP1 and FP2 on Friday. Teammate Raul Fernandez marked the pace Saturday morning despite a recent right hand injury that required minor surgery. It was Gardner who surfaced from Q2 with the better slot: 2nd position to Sam Lowes and less than three hundredths of a second from Fernandez who swept to 3rd to complete the front row.
MotorLand Aragon hosted the final round of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and where David Alonso stood within reach of the 2021 crown. The Colombian rode to 3rd place behind winner Daniel Holgado on Saturday afternoon and the first of two outings. It was enough to mathematically confirm his accolade, which he earned with three wins and four podium finishes.
David Alonso: “Finally we did it! I’m super-happy. It was a difficult race because I was a bit nervous. It was hard to manage the pressure but I could do a good race in the group. Making the podium is positive but the main thing was the championship. Tomorrow I can be more relaxed. Thanks to my team and all those who have supported me. Now we have to work for our next objective.”
Races: September 12th, 2021 – Moto3 11.00 CET | Moto2 12.20 CET| MotoGP 14.00 CET
Results Qualifying MotoGP Gran Premio Tissot de Aragon
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati 1:46.322
2. Jack Miller (AUS) Ducati +0.366
3. Fabio Quartararo (FRA) Yamaha +0.397
4. Marc Marquez (ESP) Honda +0.414
5. Jorge Martin (ESP) Ducati +0.556
12. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +1.610
13. Iker Lecuona (ESP) Tech3 KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:47.508
16. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Tech3 KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:47.708
18. Miguel Oliveira (POR) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:47.750
Results Qualifying Moto2 Gran Premio Tissot de Aragon
1. Sam Lowes (GBR) 1:51.778
2. Remy Gardner (AUS) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.279
3. Raul Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.306
Results Qualifying Moto3 Gran Premio Tissot de Aragon
1. Darryn Binder (RSA) Honda 1:57.724
2. Gabriel Rodrigo (ARG) Honda +0.181
3. Tatsuki Suzuki (JPN) Honda +0.252
4. Sergio Garcia (ESP) GASGAS +0.345
5. Andrea Migno (ITA) Honda +0.379
6. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +0.590
9. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.710
15. Jaume Masia (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +1.106
16. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) KTM +1.169