Red Bull KTM factory riders looking forward to race day after qualifying at Spielberg

QUALIFYING 11th Rd. MotoGP 2017 – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg (AUT)
Pol Espargaro, Mika Kallio & Bradley Smith KTM RC16 Red Bull Ring Spielberg 2017

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Fresh from his 9th place in last Sunday's Czech MotoGP, Pol Espargaro pushed hard around the Spielberg mountain side circuit to be the leading KTM just under 0.2 ahead of KTM MotoGP test rider Mika Kallio who is making his second race appearance this year. Kallio hasn't ridden the KTM RC16 as much as the regular team riders this year but was mighty in qualifying. He was held up a little towards the end of his fast lap by another rider causing him to lose time but he was content with his race pace found in free practice. Bradley Smith dug deep today to get onto the frenetic pace of MotoGP in this current era eventually being just 1.6 off the pole position and yet in 22nd position.

Espargaro: "We've tried hard today, improving well from this morning so I'm very happy. I felt good on the bike to do one lap, doing three consecutive laps all around the same time, but I couldn't quite do one perfect lap. However for race pace it's a much better story so that means we have a good chance for tomorrow's race. We had some problems with the tyre allocation and getting the tyre to work so we need to go through that quickly in the warm up but to race in front of that huge grandstand with all the KTM employees and fans in, it's a privilege to ride the KTM here in Austria."

Kallio: "It's been a good day as I improved the time and the feeling on the bike from this morning, particularly with my feeling with the front tyre and front fork. We have new things here this weekend; new frame, suspension, rear shock, front fork and other things but we made a decision last night to go back to the front forks I'm used to and I know. This was the right decision for me as it gave me more confidence to brake later and for it to dip into the corner quicker and with that I was able to push harder and take more risk...which improved the time. I'm 0.16secs from Pol so from our (test team) side of the garage we can be happy. On my best lap I was following Pol and Folger but in the last corners I was right on them but Folger made a mistake and I lost 0.2 as a result of that. I wish I could have those 2 tenths back as I may well have gone through to Q2, but we're very happy with what all of the KTM team have done."

Smith: "Today was a positive day finding some progress with the front of the bike as through FP4 I tried some different tyre combinations that made me more comfortable resulting in my race pace to be good and consistent towards a low 1m 25sec. If I can do that tomorrow we can have a chance of being in a good position. Qualifying was a little frustrating as on the second run I had a brake problem so the second tyre didn't quite get the full treatment from me. I'm on a good side of the track off the grid for turns one and two so hopefully I can put on a good show and get a great result for the thousands of KTM fans here in Austria."

Sebastian Risse (Technical Director MotoGP): "First of all let me say that being here at the home race with so many people here is something very special for the KTM team. Talking technically, this afternoon to get the tyres to work when the conditions have changed after the rain and cooler conditions has been hard, but we did a big learning curve today after we 'lost' yesterday with a little rain. However, we dug in and although the qualifying result doesn't look too bad I think our race pace is much better in relation to the others on the grid."

Miguel Oliveira headed the KTM Moto2 charge for the very first time on Austrian soil today as he sped to 8th on the grid for tomorrow's race. For the Portuguese who recently rode the RC16 MotoGP bike, it is his 10th top ten from 11 qualifying sessions so far in 2017. Birthday boy from yesterday Brad Binder qualified 18th but within just 0.9 seconds of pole position. Reigning Moto3 champion Binder has fought through the order well in recent races and is sure he can make another strong comeback tomorrow.

Oliveira: "Despite suffering a crash in FP3, in qualifying later on I felt very comfortable on the bike again. We didn't finish very far off the fastest riders, despite the fact that we tried a big change for qualifying that didn't work out as we had hoped. At the moment it seems that this circuit is a little harder to prepare a setup for, but tomorrow we will give our all again and do the best we can in the race."

Binder: "Today was a difficult day. I didn't feel too comfortable and things didn't come easy for me. We took too many risks and didn't reap any reward. In the end, we just have to focus on tomorrow and the race, and I am excited because I think that we are going to have an interesting fight. I am confident that, like at other times this season, tomorrow I will be able to make another good comeback. We will try."

Argentine Gabriel Rodrigo took his second pole in as many races with his KTM RC250 GP with team mate Juanfran Guevara right on his tail. For the the RBA BOE Racing Team it's a huge 1-2 result under the shadow of the Spielberg. Red Bull Ajo's Bo Bendsneyder has always been in the top five in the dry throughout the weekend and was looking good for a front until the final moments but is still very much in touch with the front as he starts from the second row – his seventh top ten start this year. Team mate Niccolo Antonelli was 17th but 0.693 seconds from the pole, exemplifying just how close Moto3 is!
Rodrigo: "I’m very happy. Today already in the FP3 we proved that we are competitive: we finished with the third position, after a long run on worn-out tyres. I felt really strong. In the qualifying, at the beginning I got stuck in a bit of traffic and I struggled to be quick. However, in the end I found some space and I could set two hot laps, achieving another pole position. It’s incredible, both for me and the team, as well as KTM, since this is their home Grand Prix. I believe it’s a nice present for all the work they’ve done to improve the bike throughout the summer. Both riders from RBA BOÉ Racing are on the first row, and it’s an excellent result: it means the team has been doing a superb job. Hopefully tomorrow the weather will be just fine for a solid race."

Bendsneyder: "Today has been a very good day. I was in pole position for a long time, but I knew I had to complete a better fast lap. On the last stint I encountered a lot of traffic and I made a mistake that prevented me from improving, but I'm very satisfied. We were always between the Top 3 and Top 5, and our pace is good. I can't wait to race tomorrow. I will give more than 100% to do well in front of our partners and be competitive, and in addition this circuitis one that I like very much."

Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup
Ai Ogura overcame a first lap collision that knocked down both Can Öncü and Aleix Viu and rode a brilliant race to stamp his authority on the first Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup race of the weekend. The 16-year-old Japanese recovered from the incident at the second tight right hander, slotting into tenth place, but took the lead on lap four. Though chased hard by fellow Japanese 16-year-old Kazuki Masaki and 15-year-old Ryusei Yamanaka, Ogura inched away to win convincingly and they filled the rostrum places. Can Öncü remounted his KTM RC 250 RB to finish 14th and Aleix Viu 10th.
Though Ogura made the win look comfortable it was far from it, as he revealed when he limped painfully from the bike in parc fermé. “I was in a lot of pain from the ankle through the race. I was hit at the second corner and almost crashed, then almost crashed again in a collision going away from the corner. It was very hard, especially over the bump into turn one. I didn’t change the bike after qualifying. It is still only 80% right but I would rather ride it like that than risk making it worse. I will do the same tomorrow.”
Races: August 13, 2017 – Moto3 11:00 | Moto2 12:20 CET | Moto2 14:00 | Red Bull Rookies Cup 15:30

Results Qualifying MotoGP Red Bull Ring, Spielberg 2017

1. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda, 1:23.235 min
2. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati, +0.144 sec
3. Jorge Lorenzo (ESP), Ducati, +0.386
4. Maverick Vinales (ESP), Yamaha, +0.519
5. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), Ducati, +0.545
16. Pol Espargaro (ESP), KTM, +0.866 
18. Mika Kallio (FIN), KTM, +1.026
22. Bradley Smith (GBR), KTM, +1.295

Results Qualifying Moto2 Red Bull Ring, Spielberg 2017
1. Mattia Pasini (ITA), Kalex, +1:29.394
2. Franco Morbidelli (ITA), Kalex, +0.001 sec
3. Alex Marquez (ESP), Kalex, +0.176
4. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA), Kalexr, +0.184
5. Thomas Luethi (SUI), Kalex, +0.302
8. Miguel Oliveira (POR), KTM, +0.604
18. Brad Binder (RSA), KTM, +0.892

Results Qualifying Moto3 Red Bull Ring, Spielberg 2017
1. Gabriel Rodrigo (ESP), KTM, 1:36.503 min
2. Juanfran Guevara (ESP), KTM, +0.112 sec
3. Aron Canet (ESP), Honda, +0.187
4. Enea Bastianini (ITA), Honda, +0.213
5. John McPhee (GBR), Honda, +0.287
6. Bo Bendsneyder (NED), KTM, +0.290
7. Andrea Migno (ITA), KTM, +0.308
8. Philipp Oettl (GER), KTM, +0.452
17. Niccolo Antonelli (ITA), KTM, +0.693

Results Race 1 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Red Bull Ring, Spielberg 2017
All riders on KTM RC250 RB bikes
1. Ai Ogura (JAP), 28:29.681 min (17 laps)
2. Kazuki Masaki (JAP), +0.721 sec
3. Ryusei Yamanaka (JAP), +0.918
4. Adrian Carrasco (ESP), +1.042
5. Matthias Meggle (GER), +1.119

Standings Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup 2017 after 9 of 13 races
1. Can Öncü (TUR), 134 points
2. Masaki, 124
3. Alex Viu (ESP), 121

4. Meggle, 90
5. Deniz Öncü (TUR), 88

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Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 Red Bull Ring Spielberg 2017
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Pol Espargaro & Staff Box Red Bull Ring Spielberg 2017
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Mika Kallio KTM RC16 Red Bull Ring Spielberg 2017
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Mika Kallio & Mechanic KTM RC16 Pit Lane Red Bull Ring Spielberg 2017
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Bradley Smith KTM RC16 Red Bull Ring Spielberg 2017
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Bradley Smith & Mechanic KTM RC16 Box Red Bull Ring Spielberg 2017
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Miguel Oliveira KTM Moto2 Red Bull Ring Spielberg 2017
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Miguel Oliveira Box Red Bull Ring Spielberg 2017
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Brad Binder KTM Moto2 Red Bull Ring Spielberg 2017
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Brad Binder Box Red Bull Ring Spielberg 2017
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Gabriel Rodrigo, Juanfran Guevara & Team KTM RC250 GP Parc Ferme Red Bull Ring Spielberg 2017
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Gabriel Rodrigo & Juanfran Guevara KTM RC250 GP Red Bull Ring Spielberg 2017
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Bo Bendsneyder KTM RC250 GP Red Bull Ring Spielberg 2017
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Niccolo Antonelli KTM RC250 GP Red Bull Ring Spielberg 2017
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Ai Ogura KTM RC250 RB Red Bull Ring Spielberg 2017
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Kazuki Masaki, Ai Ogura & Ryusei Yamanaka Podium Red Bull Ring Spielberg 2017
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Pol Espargaro, Mika Kallio & Bradley Smith KTM RC16 Red Bull Ring Spielberg 2017 (. JPG )

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