Brave Espargaro makes Thai Grand Prix Q2 and fills 11th spot on the grid

MotoGP 2019 - Round 15, Chang International Circuit (THA)
Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 MotoGP Thailand 2019

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Heat, humidity and stormy conditions were three ingredients that contributed to a close-run day of Free Practice and Qualification at the Chang International Circuit for the fifteenth round of nineteen in 2019 MotoGP. The PTT Thailand Grand Prix represented only the second visit to the country by the FIM MotoGP World Championship. Red Bull KTM tackled the new layout in Buriram, renowned already for it’s flat mix of fast straights and twisty sections, back to a two-rider roster with Pol Espargaro courageously returning to competitive duty less than two weeks after surgery to repair a fractured left radius bone.

Despite some discomfort the Spaniard was still able to circulate at a competitive rate. After morning rainfall the Q1 and Q2 sessions were run in the dry and Espargaro forced his way through to Q2 with a lap just over two tenths of a second behind Danilo Petrucci. Biding his time until the end of the Q2 chrono – that was marked with several crashes by other riders – Pol nursed his wrist and a medium rear tyre to classify just ahead of his brother in 11th. Tomorrow the 26 lap race of the 4.6km course will present a whole new challenge.

Teammate Mika Kallio was attempting just his second Grand Prix as a full-time replacement rider and spent two days searching for optimum rear grip but without much success. The Fin will head into the Grand Prix from 21st.

Miguel Oliveira took his Red Bull KTM Tech3 RC16 to 17th place on the grid. The Portuguese missed the Q2 cut-off by just eight tenths of a second and will start tomorrow’s race from the sixth row. Teammate Hafizh Syahrin is 22nd.

Pol Espargaro: “11th and not too bad for tomorrow’s race and, considering the injury, it is great to be here and to reach Q2. I’m satisfied. I have pain and the wrist is not normal and you have the sensation that something on your body is not working well but in the end I could manage to make an ‘ok’ lap in qualifying. I expected a little bit better but it was already a lot compared to how I was ten days ago! I don't know how I will manage the race and which riders I will be fighting with. It looks like I will be close to my brother. I will take some painkillers and try to take it easy at the beginning of the race, try to be with low tension and nerves. I don't want to push at the beginning and struggle at the end; that would be stupid. Less for more.”

Mika Kallio: “Unfortunately I am struggling a lot to get some grip on the rear. In Aragon I was not that happy and here it is even worse. We need to see what we can do tomorrow but we don't have that much time any more. Maybe we can still try something: we will anyway because there is nothing to lose and hopefully we can be better in the race. Somehow we need to catch the grip.”

Miguel Oliveira: “To be honest, this was not the best Qualifying for us. All weekend, we are struggling with the rear therefore I couldn’t go as fast as I wanted. I’m quite disappointed about this small detail, which costs us a few tenths. It’s not ideal, but as always, we will try our best tomorrow in the race.”

Hafizh Syahrin: “It’s a big shame to see our final position in Qualifying but the pace we had in FP4 today and also in the Q1 itself, made me feel good. I was only missing a few tenths to improve my place but tomorrow is race day, which is more important. So, I hope I can be even more focused tomorrow and be ready for the race, which for sure will be hot and very long.”

Moto2 & Moto3

In Moto2 Red Bull KTM’s Brad Binder – winner of the last Grand Prix in Aragon – registered the 12th best time in Qualification 2 but was upstaged by teammate Jorge Martin who was 3rd fastest. The 2018 Moto3 World Champion and Moto2 rookie celebrated his first front row and highest Saturday effort of the season. SKY Racing Team VR46’s Celestino Vietti used his KTM RC4 to earn a first career Pole Position in Moto3 while Gaviota Angel Nieto Team’s Albert Arenas was also on the Buriram front line.

Races: October 6th, 2019 – Moto3 06.00 | Moto2 07.20 | MotoGP 09.00 CET

Results Qualifying MotoGP Chang International Circuit 2019

1. Fabio Quartararo (FRA), Yamaha 1:29.719
2. Maverick Viñales (ESP), Yamaha +0.106
3. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda +0.212
4. Franco Morbidelli (ITA), Yamaha +0.712
5. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Ducati +0.803
11. Pol Espargaro (ESP), Red Bull KTM +1.346
17. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Tech3 1:31.499 (Q1)
21. Mika Kallio (FIN), Red Bull KTM 1:31.849 (Q1)
22. Hafizh Syahrin (MYS), Red Bull KTM Tech3 1:31.979 (Q1)

Results Qualifying Moto2 Chang International Circuit 2019

1. Alex Marquez (ESP) Kalex 1:35.297
2. Tetsuta Nagashima (JPN) Kalex +0.095
3. Jorge Martin (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.151
12. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.520

Results Qualifying Moto3 Chang International Circuit 2019

1. Celestino Vietti (ITA) KTM 1:42.599
2. Marcos Ramirez (ESP) Honda +0.118
3. Albert Arenas (ESP) KTM +0.152
21. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Ajo (Q1) 1:44.174

Press & PR Manager
Sebastian Kuhn
+43 676 599 0084

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