14.04.2019

Best ever qualification by Espargaro & KTM at Red Bull Americas Grand Prix

MotoGP 2019 - Round 2, Circuit of the Americas (USA)
Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 MotoGP USA 2019

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The seventh Grand Prix to occur at the long, spectacular and weaving Circuit of the Americas was initially interrupted by inclement weather on Saturday morning as heavy showers and thunderstorms brought proceedings to a halt. Pol Espargaro had found some speed on Friday and during the Free Practice sessions to sit 7th fastest and having hacked 2.7 second away from his previous best lap in the same track period in 2018: a remarkable rate of progression.

FP3 was cancelled and the riders headed into FP4 and a rapidly drying asphalt as the skies cleared. A stiff breeze helped improve the track and allowed the MotoGP riders to use slick Michelin tyres once more. Espargaro was already classified in Q2 and with his last flying effort occupied a best-ever slot of 5th position in the belated Texan sunshine.

Johann Zarco set his fastest lap on the sixth circulation of the Q1 period but was just under a second away from the effort clocked by Jorge Lorenzo. As a result the Frenchman will take 19th position on the grid with Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira just ahead in 18th and Hafizh Syahrin down in 21st.

The Grand Prix will take place at 21.00 CET and with 20 laps from the red light until the chequered flag.

Pol Espargaro: “It was a complicated day. Tricky in the morning then there was a lot of wind. Thanks in the end to Maverick [Viñales] who pushing in front of me and we could do a good lap-time. Just amazing. To get the time you needed to push to the limit and I was over it sometimes! But it worked and a good lap appeared on my dashboard. We have to be realistic tomorrow and I will enjoy the start, take a good rhythm and a good spot in the race and my group.”

Johann Zarco: “I hate starting from 19th position and to fight the bike, and it has been complicated to understand this and get better. I have to accept it at the moment. My team know we cannot get the solution right now. I have tried to adapt but I cannot change everything so it’s a difficult time.”

Miguel Oliveira: “It has been a tough day. It was difficult with the wind and the track not fully dry. We could confirm different things we tested on the bike to be able to start again tomorrow with a stronger pace. We are just outside of our target but we keep calm for tomorrow, as we will have a very, very long race, physically demanding, so we will try to manage it the best.”

Hafizh Syahrin: “Yesterday afternoon I had a really good feeling with the KTM, so we used the same setup in Qualifying but I don’t understand why I didn’t have the same sensation, as I was struggling to stop and to turn the bike. To be honest, I’m a bit disappointed because I thought we could improve our time a bit more. To start in P21 is not what I was wishing for but we keep pushing and learning and try to push even more come race day.”

Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsport Director: “Today was a good feeling and a big payback for the team because they have worked really hard to change things. We came to this track with a lot of respect because it was where we had the worse distance from the front runners last year with more than three seconds in the qualifying. So riding with Pol to the second row was amazing and we are building-up because we were competitive in every practice – not for something like a podium result – but for the top eight and where we want to be. This qualifying was not a lucky punch but a confirmation of how the weekend started. It is really nice.”

Moto2 & Moto3

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder will sit in the middle of the second row of the Moto2 grid after qualifying 5th fastest and less than half a second from the Pole Position effort by Marcel Schrotter. Teammate Jorge Martin made it through Q1 and slides into 8th place for tomorrow. In Moto3 Raul Fernandez took his KTM to 2nd spot behind Niccolo Antonelli while three other KTMs filled slots in the top five.

Races: April 14, 2019 – Moto3 18.00 | Moto2 19.20 | MotoGP 21.00 CET

Results Qualifying MotoGP Circuit of the Americas 2019

1. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda 2:03.787
2. Valentino Rossi (ITA), Yamaha +0.273
3. Cal Crutchlow (GBR), Honda +0.360
4. Jack Miller (AUS), Ducati +0.629
5. Pol Espargaro (ESP), Red Bull KTM +0.685
18. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Tech3 2:06.147
19. Johann Zarco (FRA), Red Bull KTM 2:06.824
21. Hafizh Syarin (MYS), Red Bull KTM Tech3 2:07.308

Results Qualifying Moto2 Circuit of the Americas 2019

1. Marcel Schrotter (GER) Kalex 2:10.875
2. Alex Marquez (ESP) Kalex +0.058
3. Sam Lowes (GBR) Kalex +0.248
5. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.401
8. Jorge Martin (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +1.131

Results Qualifying Moto3 Circuit of the Americas 2019

1. Niccolo Antonelli (ITA) Honda 2:31.346
2. Raul Fernandez (ESP) KTM +0.501
3. Gabriel Rodrigo (ARG) Honda +0.783
20. Can Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Ajo 2:36.490

Contact:
Press & PR Manager
Sebastian Kuhn
+43 676 599 0084
sebastian.kuhn@ktm.com

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