MotoGP 2020 - Round 08, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (Spain)
- KTM fill three slots in the top twelve in Catalunya
- Miguel Oliveira again shows promising speed but rues Q2 crash
- Raul Fernandez takes the middle spot on the front row of the Moto3 grid
Breezy but yet more sunny conditions graced 2020 MotoGP around the fast, flowing and low-grip Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as the series arrived back in Spain for the first of three events in the country in the next four weeks. Red Bull KTM had to use the first Free Practice sessions to optimize rear grip between the Michelin tires and the KTM RC16 but the slick asphalt was to Brad Binder’s liking as the rookie posted the 3rd quickest lap-time on Friday.
Saturday saw Espargaro, Binder and Miguel Oliveira in fast form and come through the crucial FP3 session that allowed the trio direct entry to Q2. Iker Lecuona tried to make the push through Q1 but a morning crash dented the youngster’s progress and the Spaniard will start 19th on Sunday for the 24-lap race.
In Q2 Espargaro looked to build on the promising rhythm he had established in FP4 and ended the qualification rush just over half a second from Pole Position. Both Binder and Oliveira searched for effective front-end traction but couldn’t find the best solution both for a time attack and the prime tire option for the upcoming Grand Prix race. Oliveira had a crash that interrupted his work and ended Q2 in 12th, while Binder was 10th.
The races start at a later time of 12.00 for Moto3, 13.20 for Moto2 and 15.00 for MotoGP CET on Sunday.
Pol Espargaro: “A so-so day. I’m happy because the lap-time was not bad but having seen our pace in FP4 with a used tire maybe I was expecting a bit more. My feeling in qualifying was not too bad but we didn’t get that extra grip in other places when we put a fresh tire on the bike. Anyway, P7 is OK and the straight is long here so let’s see if we can get some positions back at the start, make a good rhythm and see what will happen.”
Brad Binder: “It was tough. I wanted to push and try to do a good job but I wasn’t comfortable with the front end. When I wanted to push into the left-handers I just kept washing the front tire. It was really difficult: I felt like I was riding around with one hand in my pocket because it was such hard work. We’ll sit down and make a plan for tomorrow.”
Miguel Oliveira: “It was a tough Qualifying. This morning we finished with a very good feeling. This afternoon, the conditions changed a bit and I was not so comfortable riding the medium front. I crashed on my fastest lap in Qualifying and lost a bit of feeling, which means I couldn’t do any better than this morning. We hope to do a clever race and arrive as close to the top as we can.”
Iker Lecuona: “It’s difficult to say a lot about today. In FP4, I tried to improve my feeling with the bike, we didn’t change anything and I was just trying. In Qualifying I managed to improve my lap time. Finally, it was not bad, but not good enough. Tomorrow is a new day and the most important of the week anyway.”
Moto2 & Moto3
Red Bull KTM Ajo's Raul Fernandez was again the Moto3 pacesetter on Friday and all eyes were on the youngster to see if he could capture his fourth Pole Position from nine rounds on Saturday. The 18-year old ended Q2 in 2nd place, just half a second from making it happen but was first in a group of four KTM RC4s in the top ten.
Red Bull KTM Ajo welcomed back Jorge Martin to the Moto2 pitbox after the Spaniard had recovered and tested negative from his recent Covid-19 diagnosis. Martin got immediately back to work with the 14th quickest effort (just 0.6 of a second from the top) and was four positions ahead of teammate Tetsuta Nagashima.
Races: September 20th, 2020 – Moto3 12.00 | Moto2 13.20 | MotoGP 15.00 CET
Results Qualifying MotoGP Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya
1. Franco Morbidelli (ITA) Yamaha 1:38.798
2. Fabio Quartararo (FRA) Yamaha +0.210
3. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha +0.331
4. Jack Miller (AUS) Ducati +0.427
5. Maverick Viñales (ESP) Yamaha +0.573
7. Pol Espargaro (ESP) Red Bull KTM +0.697
10. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM +0.861
12. Miguel Oliveira (POR) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +1.390
13. Iker Lecuona (ESP) Red Bull KTM Tech3 (Q1) 1:40.490
Results Qualifying Moto2 Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya
1. Luca Marini (ITA) 1:43.355
2. Jorge Navarro (ESP) +0.181
3. Sam Lowes (GBR) +0.282
14. Jorge Martin (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.691
18. Tetsuta Nagashima (JPN) Red Bull KTM Ajo +1.079
Results Qualifying Moto3 Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya
1. Tony Arbolino (ITA) Honda 1:47.762
2. Raul Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.618
3. Gabriel Rodrigo (ARG) Honda +0.618
4. Albert Arenas (ESP) KTM +0.628
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