Brad Binder was KTM’s top qualifier around a rough and tricky Circuit of the Americas as the MotoGP series departed European shores for only the second time in 2021. The South African will start from the fourth row for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas with the 11th slot of the grid.
– Binder quickest KTM rider in first MotoGP run at COTA & first GP in Austin since April 2019
– Jaume Masia leaves it late to grab his second Moto3™ Pole Position of the season
– Sixth Moto2™ Pole Position for Raul Fernandez who tops every session
The epic Circuit of the Americas welcomed the speed and exhilaration of MotoGP for the first time in two years with humid and changeable conditions for the fifteenth round of the series. The Free Practice session on Friday took place across a wet Texan asphalt while FP2 was drier but still damp. The course stayed dry throughout Saturday.
COTA is one of the longest and most technical tracks on the calendar, combining flowing changes of direction with tight turns that favor hard-braking and acceleration. The state of the surface attracted criticism because of the quantity of bumps and the state of the tarmac. The riders were pushed to mental and physical extremes while also trying to figure out set-up to cope with the ripples.
Brad Binder was able to work his way directly into Q2 with his last flying lap of FP3, the South African actually nudged out Miguel Oliveira who had to enter Q1. The Styrian GP winner had some difficulties during FP4 but using a hard/soft tire combo for his final attempt to make his way up the first rows of the grid in Q2, Binder clocked his best lap so far and made sure of 11th.
Oliveira had his Q1 quest spoiled by a slow speed crash at Turn 11. The Portuguese had time to return to the pitbox and re-enter the fray but ended the afternoon with 18th place. Tech3 KTM Factory Racing’s Iker Lecuona was close and couldn’t rise any higher than 17th by the checkered flag to end the session while teammate Danilo Petrucci classified 21st.
20 demanding, unpredictable laps will start on Sunday at 21.00 CET.
Brad Binder: “A challenging day in general. We had some issues this morning where I only got to do one good exit which was in FP3 and so in FP4 our plan went out the window and we were switching between bikes. Going into Q2 I hadn’t made a good lap through FP4 so the confidence wasn’t too high. I did my best and gave it my all. 11th is not where I want to be and I feel that we could have been higher up the grid but tomorrow is the race and it will do the job.”
Iker Lecuona: “We made some good progress. During FP3 we improved a lot, in FP4 I struggled a bit more but we tried something on the base set-up to go better. It was not easy. In Qualifying I did my maximum. I know the race will be physically very hard tomorrow in these hot and humid conditions. We will see, what we can do.”
Miguel Oliveira: “A difficult qualifying after good Free Practice sessions. We had good pace but I couldn’t reproduce it in Q1 and crashing didn’t help. I had a lot of vibration and that was a big wall for our one-lap potential. It’s a shame because it does not reflect our work done this weekend or our speed but the race is tomorrow and hopefully we can progress a couple of positions and fight for a top ten.”
Danilo Petrucci:“It was a very tough day. We tried our best but unfortunately we really struggled to find a good setup at this track. There is a long straight and especially tight corners that I can’t make as fast as I want. We improved the lap time compared to this morning but we are still quite far from the top. The race tomorrow will be hard but we definitively give our maximum in order to get the best possible result.”
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Pole Position was claimed by Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jaume Masia after the Spaniard cleverly latched onto the rear wheel of teammate Pedro Acosta on his last flying lap of Q2. Masia used the tow to be the only rider in the 2mins 15 second lap-time bracket and secure his fourth career Pole and second of 2021 with the KTM RC4. Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Deniz Öncü placed 9th while teammate Ayumu Sasaki was 14th and one slot ahead of Acosta.
Jaume Masia: “I’m happy with the result we achieved today. It’s always nice to begin from the front row of the grid and even more so if you start from the pole position. I am very satisfied with the work we did and I want to thank the team for all their efforts. Tomorrow we will perform at our best and we will give everything in the race.”
Red Bull KTM Ajo riders Raul Fernandez and Remy Gardner led the way throughout Moto2 Free Practice with the Spaniard setting the pace through FP1, FP2 and FP3. Fernandez was almost overthrown in the chase for Pole Position by Remy Gardner but snatched his sixth P1 of his rookie season with his last effort and push in Q2.
Raul Fernandez: “I’m very happy to get another Pole. It’s been a special weekend. I didn’t know if this track would be good for me. I’ve been impressive all weekend so far. I want to say thanks to the team because they made a rapid tire change and we were ready to go for this.”
Races: October 3rd, 2021 – Moto3 18.00 CET | Moto2 19.20 CET| MotoGP 21.00 CET
Results Qualifying MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati 2:02.781
2. Marc Marquez (ESP) Honda +0.348
3. Fabio Quartararo (FRA) Yamaha +0.428
4. Jorge Martin (ESP) Ducati +0.497
5. Takaaki Nakagami (JPN) Honda +0.511
11. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +1.000
17. Iker Lecuona (ESP) Tech3 KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 2:04.324
18. Miguel Oliveira (POR) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 2:04.392
21. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Tech3 KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 2:04.829
Results Qualifying Moto2 Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas
1. Raul Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo 2:08.979
2. Remy Gardner (AUS) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.320
3. Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA) +0.478
Results Qualifying Moto3 Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas
1. Jaume Masia (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo 2:15.986
2. Dennis Foggia (ITA) Honda +0.193
3. Jeremy Alcoba (ESP) Honda +0.196
4. Izan Guevarra (ESP) GASGAS +0.325
5. Xavier Artigas (ESP) Honda +0.348
9. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +0.524
14. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +0.726
15. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.780