MotoGP 2022 - Round 15 of 20, MotorLand Aragon - Qualification
Two Red Bull KTM RC16s entered Q2 directly on a sunny Saturday afternoon at the sprawling and challenging MotorLand Aragon circuit in Spain to ensure both Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira filled 10th and 11th positions on the MotoGP start grid. The Gran Premio Animoca Brands de Aragón represents the fifteenth round of twenty in the 2022 championship and the penultimate European fixture before the end of the season.
- Binder defies sore right ankle to post the 10th fastest lap. Oliveira is 2 tenths of a second behind in 11th
- Both Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders make the Q2 cut for the first time since the Dutch Grand Prix
- Tech3 KTM Factory Racing representatives Raul Fernandez and Remy Gardner will start from 21st and 22nd for the 23-lap race on Sunday afternoon.
- Holgado makes the front row in Moto3™ Q2 as Fernandez takes second Moto2™ Pole
- Rico Salmela wins the first dash of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup
MotorLand Aragon beckoned MotoGP to the Iberian Peninsula for the fourth time in 2022 and the spectacular 5.1km circuit based a short distance from the town of Alcañiz was a typically varied and technical test for the teams and riders. Sunny conditions graced both days of Free Practice and Qualification on the open and exposed facility and with a declining level of grip level courtesy of the 12-year-old asphalt.
KTM immediately got to work in the wake of the two-day official test in Misano, Italy last week. Binder was denied the 4th best lap-time in Free Practice 1 because of a waved yellow flag but both the South African and Miguel Oliveira were keen and competitive. They comfortably secured positions in the top-ten cut for direct Q2 entry in FP3 on Saturday morning and Oliveira was fastest in FP4. When it came down to the crucial 12-minute decider for the first rows of the start grid Binder, who was nursing a painful ankle due to a fall in FP3, was initially holding a second row slot but couldn’t improve his last flying lap attempt and nestled in 10th. Oliveira ran to 11th but the race pace is expected to be slower on Sunday and with tire preservation a key ingredient of the overall strategy.
Raul Fernandez was the quicker of the Tech3 KTM Factory Racing ‘rookies’ as the Spaniard rode to 21st position on the grid after Q1. Teammate Remy Gardner was just two tenths of a second away. The Australian ended the day in 22nd.
As per usual, the Moto3 chase opens raceday at 11.00 before Moto2 at 12.20 and MotoGP begins at 14.00 CET
Brad Binder: “Everything is working quite well. The position today was a bit better but I’m still slightly disappointed because I could have done an improved lap in Q2. Still, a better-than-usual qualifying for me! I’m looking forward to the race even if we can work on a few more details. Once the tire drops tomorrow I think it will get a bit easier for us. We’ll have to manage the left side but I’m confident we can get through the distance without too much consumption. I think I can do a good job tomorrow, so fingers crossed.”
Miguel Oliveira: “We came to Aragon very open-minded and to try some different things. We were not slow here last year but we lacked a few more tenths to be competitive and this morning we were already on a good level and this paid off. We couldn’t quite match the pace of the other guys in qualifying for some traffic and some mistakes. We’ll have to make some progress at the start if we want to capitalize tomorrow. With a good start we can make our lives a little easier.”
Raul Fernandez: “The feelings on the bike improved today, especially towards the final free practice and the qualifying session. My race pace was not too bad, although we have margin to improve the front of the bike. It is important for me to be able to ride like I would like, so today we made progress. I look forward to racing tomorrow and I hope that we can do a good result here in Aragon.”
Remy Gardner:“The day started well with FP3 because I felt more comfortable with the set-up I had. In qualifying, I had an issue on the bike which forced me to head back to the garage, and then I was just unlucky. On my first flying lap, a couple of riders crashed in front of me so I just finished like I could. It is a shame because we could have had a better position on the grid. Let’s try to have a good race tomorrow .”
KTM GP Academy
Moto3 Pole Position was earned by Izan Guevara. KTM were probing the top positions of the times sheets through all three Free Practice sessions and it was Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Daniel Holgado who was the top KTM RC4 rider as the 17-year-old claimed 3rd place and the last slot on the front row of the grid. Teammate and former winner at MotorLand, Jaume Masia, was 8th fastest and less than half a second from his countryman. Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Deniz Öncü had an interrupted Q2 with a small technical hitch that forced a return to the pitlane but the Turk was not too far away in 13th. Adrian Fernandez completed the top fifteen.
Augusto Fernandez and Pedro Acosta took turns in setting the pace during Moto2 Free Practice and it was Fernandez who swept to his second Pole Position of the campaign after Q2 on Saturday afternoon. Red Bull KTM Ajo will have both riders in the top six after Moto2 rookie Acosta pushed his way to 6th and was less than four tenths of a second from his teammate.
Augusto Fernandez: “I felt good today but let’s see tomorrow. It will be a long race and we need to manage the tire drop well. I expect quite a lot of riders at the front so we’ll have to wait until the last few laps and see what we can do.”
Finland’s Rico Salmela was able to burst through from the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup pack to seize his first victory by a mere two hundredths of a second. The teenager earned his spurs in the maiden outing for the development series in Aragon on Saturday. Race two takes place on Sunday afternoon.
Results Qualifying MotoGP Gran Premio Animoca Brands de Aragón
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati 1:46.069
2. Jack Miller (AUS) Ducati +0.090
3. Enea Bastianini (ITA) Ducati +0.244
4. Aleix Espargaro (ESP) Aprilia +0.521
5. Johann Zarco (FRA) Ducati +0.577
10. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +0.855
11. Miguel Oliveira (POR) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +1.114
21. Remy Gardner (AUS) Tech3 KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:47.671
22. Raul Fernandez (ESP) Tech3 KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:47.847
Results Qualifying Moto2 Gran Premio Animoca Brands de Aragón
1. Augusto Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo 1:51.888
2. Albert Arenas (ESP) +0.124
3. Jake Dixon (GBR) +0.291
6. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.392
Results Qualifying Moto3 Gran Premio Animoca Brands de Aragón
1. Izan Guevara (ESP) GASGAS 1:57.868
2. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) Husqvarna +0.095
3. Daniel Holgado (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.169
4. Tatsuki Suzuki (JPN) Honda +0.403
5. John McPhee (GBR) Husqvarna +0.428
8. Jaume Masia (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.539
13. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +1.166
15. Adrian Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +1.361
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