The first Qualifying session of both the season and of the new format took place this Saturday at the Losail International Circuit, with the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders looking to take a strong grid position for the Qatar GP. Brad Binder and Jorge Martin, whose times from Friday were good enough to take them directly through to Q2, will take off from eighth and eleventh, respectively, at the season opener.
Times from Friday went untroubled early on due to the conditions, but reigning Moto3 World Champion, Jorge Martin, started the day as the fastest rider in FP3, overcoming physical discomfort and the heavy gusts of wind that hit the Qatari track today.
In the 15-minutes Q2 session, the Spaniard suffered a crash at Turn 2 midway through the session and was unable to improve his time, and he will start the Qatar GP from 11th on the grid.
The race gets underway on Sunday at 6:20pm local time. Both Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 riders have previous podium experience at Losail: Binder was second in the 2016 Moto3 race, and Martin won last season’s lower cylinder class contest.
“It was a strange day for us. We have been working hard and trying out several things, but the track changes a lot from one session to the other, so it is difficult to draw conclusions. Even so, I’m happy because in Qualifying I felt much better with the front end -the most difficult thing for me. We also know where we need to improve to get more rear grip, and that’s a very positive thing. We will take all the information we have gathered today and we will set up my KTM as well as possible for tomorrow. It will be my first Moto2 race, so the goal is to start well, run a good pace and see what we are capable of doing. I’ll give it my all.”