Miguel Oliveira qualifies superb fifth and Brad Binder an excellent ninth in Jerez

 In Brad Binder, Iker Lecuona, Miguel Oliveira, MotoGP, News, Pol Espargaro

MotoGP resumed at Jerez for the second weekend in a row and for the Gran Premio Red Bull de Andalucía. Once again Red Bull KTM were protagonists through hot and sunny Free Practice and Qualification. Miguel Oliveira made the Q2 session for the first time and charged to 5th position on the 2020 KTM RC16. Brad Binder registered 9th place and Pol Espargaro will be 12th on the grid.

The 4.4km Jerez circuit presented similar temperatures and track conditions to the opening episode of 2020 MotoGP seven days previously. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing had already established their base setting for the KTM RC16 and instead worked through refinements and various race tire options to optimize configuration for a repeat of the demanding 25-lap run on Sunday.

Pol Espargaro was hunting the top of the time sheets from the first laps of Free Practice and right through to FP4 when he was 3rd. Unfortunately, the Spaniard crashed at Turn 2 in the crucial final moments of Q2 and could not make a time attack.

Brad Binder was also showing fast levels of adaptation. On Friday the South African was 3rd fastest overall after the first day of Free Practice. On Saturday he entered Q2 directly in only his second Grand Prix in the premier class and posted a lap that put him initially in the top five. Despite another fresh blast of the Chrono, Binder ended the afternoon with 9th position: half a second from pole position, a place on the third row and an improvement of three spots from the previous Saturday.

Red Bull KTM Tech3 duo Miguel Oliveira and Iker Lecuona made significant progress. Oliveira troubled the top six on Friday and Lecuona was also showing the same rapid one-lap potential. When it came down to FP3 and then Q1 it was Oliveira who shone with the best effort to make 1st place: the first time the Portuguese has made the Q2 cut. While Lecuona rested in 17th, Oliveira’s stint in Q2 was fruitful with a last-gasp effort delivering 5th. He was less than four tenths of a second from Pole and notched a personal best classification in just his second MotoGP term.

Miguel Oliveira:
“It was a positive qualifying because it’s our best starting position and something that we wanted to improve from last weekend, so we are happy. But of course, we are conscious that the job is not done yet. We still need to finish the race tomorrow with a lot of points, so we will keep on working, fine-tune the last details and keep a strong mentality for the race.”

Brad Binder:
“Today has been good. The main target was to make it through to Q2 because that’s what we didn’t do last week. I must be happy because we made some steady progress. We are heading in a good direction. It’s looking positive for tomorrow and I think I can do a good job: what position that will be I have no idea! In general, the pace is decent. To qualify 9th in my second grand prix is fantastic.”

Pol Espargaro:
“It was a good day up until the qualifying. I locked the front in the second corner and couldn’t even set a lap-time. It has put us in a critical position on the grid, but tomorrow is when the points come. We have to make extra effort tomorrow to be where we want to be. I would say our pace is one of the best, the bike felt nice and smooth and I could make the race pace on a used tire very easily. I really want to start and push right away when the tire is fresh and try to overtake as soon as possible.”

Iker Lecuona:
“I had a fall this morning and therefore it took me some time to regain my feeling this afternoon but in qualifying I finally managed to improve my lap time compared to last week. I felt good with the bike and I can enjoy riding, so I’m really happy. I want to thank my team and also Miguel’s crew because they helped us a lot to prepare my bike.”

Recommended Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search