KTM wins fifth consecutive Moto3 race at Mugello as MotoGP team advances technically

RACE 6th Rd. MotoGP 2017 – Autodromo del Mugello (ITA)
Andrea Migno Podium Autodromo del Mugello 2017

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8 time Motocross World Champion Tony Cairoli was watching as the MotoGP race got underway with the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing of Pol Espargaro fighting hard with a new chassis he and Bradley Smith were using this weekend on the KTM RC16. Unfortunately an electrical problem meant Pol's pace couldn't be held, ultimately leading in retirement. Smith had a rear brake problem from the halfway point but he adapted his riding to finish 20th.

Smith: "We kept on working on the bike right up until the race, but when I started it was with a slightly different setting that took me a little too long to get the right feeling with before I started to pull in the gap to Abraham and Baz. Unfortunately the rear brake started to give me trouble from the half way point before I then had nothing. For the KTM it's crucial to make the bike work with a rear brake so it's a frustrating way to finish the weekend but, we learnt a great deal and around such a difficult, technical track, that's so similar to Austin, I think we did a better job here than in the USA. Looking forward, we now move on the Catalunya in a few days time and fight on."

Espargaro: "It was a shame because we had an electrical problem that appeared this weekend after a big effort by the factory and the test team as Mika (Kallio) tried those pieces not too long ago so to get them here was a big effort. Thank you guys. From Friday we made good steps and we were aiming to be around 35 seconds off the win but it wasn't to be."

Mike Leitner (Team Manager MotoGP): "We knew that in our first season we'd have days like today, but today, especially on Pol's side, it would've been good to get some points but he had some electronic problem that we don't yet know the cause of. We will analyse this but I'm sorry for him. It's a shame as the team worked hard before this problem; they really made good progress during the practice sessions where the lap times were coming. In the race, Pol was battling with Miller and Folger before this problem appeared but then he stopped as he didn't know what the problem was and didn't want to risk anything. With Bradley, he was struggling a little more over the weekend but for the race he felt better on the bike, however in the end he couldn't quite stay with the group ahead as he had a rear brake problem. Overall what is clear is that in general we are stepping forward and it looks like we have found a step forward again with the set up of the bike. We knew Mugello was going to be difficult for us, but with the overall package we are progressing."

Both Red Bull Ajo KTMs finished in the top ten in Moto2 at Mugello with Portugal's Miguel Oliveira crossing the line in fifth, a tantalising 5.1 seconds back from the winner. For a debut of the KTM Moto2 motorcycle at this race track, it was a result that was welcomed in only the bike's sixth race Reigning Moto3 World Champion Brad Binder returned to the team this weekend after injury, immediately jumping back into action with an impressive tenth.

: "During the first few laps I lost a lot of time behind Marini; whenever I tried to pass, he returned the move and we lost a lot of time compared to the four in front of us. Later, when I had overtaken him, there was a lot of distance to the front riders and although I had a good pace I couldn’t catch them. I’m happy about the work we did this weekend; it was a difficult circuit, but we have consolidated fourth place in the World Championship and I am satisfied with that. There is no time to rest, so from today we have to think about Barcelona."

Binder: "Yesterday I had a hard time riding the bike; my arm hurt a lot and I had no energy. Thanks to the team, Doctor Mir, the Clinica Mobile and my physios that have helped me to feel strong and get to the race. Today, I don’t know how, but after 10 laps my left arm was very tired and the effort I had to expend with the right to compensate took its toll on me with 5 laps to go. Having come back from the injury with this result is something to be very happy about. Now I just have to keep working, try to recover the strength in my left arm to be 100% fit as soon as possible."

In one of the most closely fought races seen in living memory, Italian Andrea Migno took the KTM RC250 GP to the fifth consecutive victory at Mugello after the wins of Salom, Fenati, Oliviera and Binder. The Italian's win is the first for KTM in 2017. Red Bull Ajo's Bo Bendsneyder was 12th, just 1.2 seconds from the victory while team mate Niccolo Antonelli was only 1.8 seconds off the win, but quite incredibly outside the points. For those watching trackside or on TV the world over it was a race to savour as part of the history of Moto3 that has seen such close racing since its debut in 2012. Out of the top 15, KTM filled seven places with not only the win but also third place from Juanfran Guevara.

: "The most beautiful day of my life. There are no other words to describe this moment. Winning the first race in my career at Mugello in front of this incredible crowd is a dream that goes beyond all my expectations. It was a tough weekend: I was not fast in the sessions, then in the warm up something has changed. The last lap was too long: I was in front of Di Giannantonio at the first corner, and it is difficult here at Mugello cross the finish line first from that position. I believed it, I wanted it. What to say? I want to thank my family, they always supported me, Team Sky for their incredible job and the VR46 Riders Academy that follows us step by step. A special dedication also to Marco Simoncelli and Nicky Hayden."

Aki Ajo (Team Manager Moto3): “At Mugello the Moto3 race is always very special. We have several races in the championship where large groups are formed, so many riders place outside the points when in reality they are only 1.5 seconds away from the winner. But in any case, we cannot be happy with our results this weekend. As I have repeated several times during this season, we have to keep working hard and we need to do a thorough analysis to find out how we can improve our level in the coming races.”

The whole MotoGP paddock now moves straight towards Barcelona tomorrow for the second of four races within five weekends in the 18 race MotoGP World Championship.

Next Race: June 11, 2017 – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (ESP)

Results Race MotoGP Autodromo del Mugello 2017

1. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati, 41:32.126 min (23 laps)
2. Maverick Vinales (ESP), Yamaha, +1.281 sec
3. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), Ducati, +2.334
4. Valentino Rossi (ITA), Yamaha, +3.685
5. Alvaro Bautista (ESP), Ducati, +5.802
20. Bradley Smith (GBR), KTM, +50.897
DNF Pol Espargaro (ESP), KTM

Standings MotoGP 2017 after 6 of 18 races
1. Viñales, 105 points
2. Dovizioso, 79
3. Rossi, 75
4. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda, 68
5. Dani Pedrosa (ESP), Honda, 68
22. Espargaro, 6
23. Smith, 6

Results Race Moto2 Autodromo del Mugello 2017
1. Mattia Pasini (ITA), Kalex, 39:30.974 min
2. Thomas Luethi (SUI), Kalex, 0.052 sec
3. Alex Marquez (ESP), Kalex, +0.136
4. Franco Morbidelli (ITA), Kalex, +3.643
5. Miguel Oliveira (POR), KTM, +5.124
10. Brad Binder (RSA), KTM, +16.036

Standings Moto2 2017 after 6 of 18 races
1. Morbidelli, 113 points
2. Luthi, 100
3. Marquez, 78
4. Oliveira, 70
5. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA), Kalex, 53
17. Binder, 13
21. Ricard Cardus (ESP), KTM, 7

Results Race Moto3 Autodromo del Mugello 2017
1. Andrea Migno (ITA), KTM, 39:43.963 min
2. Fabio di Giannantonio (ITA), Honda, +0.037 sec
3. Juanfran Guevara (ESP), KTM, +0.166
4. Darryn Binder (RSA), KTM, +0.362

5. Aron Canet (ESP), Honda, +0.364
9. Marcos Ramirez (ESP), KTM, +0.772
10. Nicolo Bulega (ITA), KTM, +1.125
12. Bo Bendsneyder (NED), KTM, +1.261
16. Niccolo Antonelli (ITA), KTM, +1.858

Standings Moto3 2017 after 6 of 18 rounds
1. Joan Mir (ESP), Honda, 108 points
2. Canet, 74
3. Di Giannantonio, 71
4. Romano Fenati (ITA), Honda, 68
5. Migno, 68
8. Guevara, 50
9. Ramirez, 43
15. Bendsnyder, 16
18. Antonelli, 11

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Bradley Smith & Staff KTM RC16 Start Autodromo del Mugello 2017
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Pol Espargaro, Tony Cairoli & Staff KTM RC16 Start Autodromo del Mugello 2017
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Bradley Smith KTM RC16 Autodromo del Mugello 2017
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Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 Autodromo del Mugello 2017
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Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 Autodromo del Mugello 2017
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Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 Autodromo del Mugello 2017
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Bradley Smith KTM RC16 Autodromo del Mugello 2017
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Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 Autodromo del Mugello 2017
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Bradley Smith & Mechanics KTM RC16 Box Autodromo del Mugello 2017
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Pol Espargaro & Staff Box Autodromo del Mugello 2017
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Miguel Oliveira KTM Moto2 Autodromo del Mugello 2017
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Brad Binder KTM Moto2 Autodromo del Mugello 2017
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Miguel Oliveira KTM Moto2 Autodromo del Mugello 2017
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Brad Binder KTM Moto2 Autodromo del Mugello 2017
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Andrea Migno & Juanfran Guevara Podium Autodromo del Mugello 2017
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Andrea Migno KTM RC250 GP Autodromo del Mugello 2017
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Bo Bendsneyder KTM RC250 GP Autodromo del Mugello 2017
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Niccolo Antonelli KTM RC250 GP Autodromo del Mugello 2017
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