30.03.2019

First Q2 appearance of 2019 MotoGP for Espargaro in Argentina

MotoGP 2019 Round 2 Circuito Termas de Rio Hondo (ARG)
Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 MotoGP Argentina 2019

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MotoGP reconvened in South America for the second round of nineteen and a twisty and fast layout that welcomed the FIM World Championship for the sixth year in a row. The Red Bull KTM squads immediately got to work on Friday with the first Free Practice sessions and Johann Zarco displayed his fondness for the Argentine course by registering the sixth fastest time in FP1. At the end of the day almost the entire grid was split by just one second.

In cloudy but dry conditions on Saturday all four RC16s were in the Q1 period. It was Espargaro that throttled his way to a lap-time just a tenth of a second away from Takaaki Nakagami and only seven hundredths ahead of his brother Aleix and another bright charge from Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira. 2nd place meant that Pol entered Q2 and the battle for the top twelve positions on the grid while the Portuguese will finally start from 14th.

Pol could not go quicker at his next attempt and invade the top ten. He rested 1.1 seconds away from the Pole effort by Marc Marquez. Zarco will be on the sixth row for his second race appearance with the KTM RC16 and the 25 lap sprint tomorrow (he was 0.5 of a second from also making Q2) while Oliveira’s teammate Hafizh Syahrin sits in 21st.

Pol Espargaro: “The track is not the easiest for me and the low grip makes things a little bit harder. Anyway, I made a good lap in Q1, even with a mistake that could have given me a couple more tenths but it was enough for Q2. It makes me really happy that we could manage this here. In Q2 I had no more tyres to make a lap time so I put a Soft front and Medium rear and I was pretty close. I’m happy overall. We don’t know what will happen with the weather tomorrow but we have a good position for the race.”

Johann Zarco: We didn't really find any solutions for the improvements I wanted to make from Friday so I have to accept this and do my best with it. We are trying to make one step forward and taking two backwards. Anyway, it is a bit better than Qatar and I’m crossing my fingers to get consistency in order to have a good race.”

Miguel Oliveira: “Overall it has been a positive day. We improved our Qualifying position from the last race, which is a good fact. I’m very close to get into Q2, so it was not a bad day. I felt better with the bike, the team worked really good and we just keep improving all the time. I understand more how to ride the bike – many steps forward, so now I’m just excited to do the race tomorrow.”

Hafizh Syahrin: “We made a quite big improvement today but we still need to find something a bit easier to ride with regards to race pace. At the moment we have a really good rhythm but we were missing something in terms of traction in the exit of the corners. Anyway, we believe that we are getting closer and closer now. I’m happy about this Qualifying although I know we are still quite far from the top but my feeling with the bike is a lot better than in Qatar.”

Moto2 & Moto3

Just a tenth of a second denied Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder from the front row in Moto2. The South African will set off from the 6th slot. The competitiveness of the category was highlighted by Jorge Martin’s 17th position on the grid: the Moto3 World Champion was 0.7 from Xavi Vierge’s Pole Position. In Moto3 two KTM motorcycles fill the first two slots on the grid with Jaume Masia earning his first ever Pole Position just ahead of countryman Aron Canet by three tenths of a second.

Races: March 31, 2019 – Moto3 17.00 | Moto2 18.20 | MotoGP 20.00 CET

Results Qualifying MotoGP Circuit Termas de Rio Hondo 2019

1. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda 1:38.304
2. Maverick Viñales (ESP), Yamaha +0.154
3. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati +0.164
4. Valentino Rossi (ITA), Yamaha +0.241
4. Jack Miller (AUS), Ducati +0.244
11. Pol Espargaro (ESP), Red Bull KTM +1.185
14. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +1.565
18. Johann Zarco (FRA), Red Bull KTM +1.2
21. Hafizh Syarin (MYS), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +1.8

Results Qualifying Moto2 Circuit Termas de Rio Hondo 2019

1. Xavi Vierge (ESP) Kalex 1:42.726
2. Marcel Schrotter (GER) Kalex +0.011
3. Sam Lowes (GBR) +0.012
6. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.147
17. Jorge Martin (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.878

Results Qualifying Moto3 Circuit Termas de Rio Hondo 2019

1. Jaume Masia (ESP) KTM 1:48.775
2. Aron Canet (ESP) KTM +0.319
3. Tony Arbolino (ITA) Honda +0.347
23. Can Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Ajo +1.8

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

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Johann Zarco KTM RC16 MotoGP Argentina 2019
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