09.03.2019

Red Bull KTM negotiate tricky and cold Qatar Grand Prix Qualification

MotoGP 2019 Round 1 of 19 Losail International Circuit (QAT)
Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 MotoGP Qatar 2019

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Strong winds marked the second day of the VisitQatar Grand Prix for the first round of nineteen in 2019 MotoGP. The Red Bull KTM duo improved on their best lap-times from Friday – both found spaces inside the top ten of the Free Practice 3 session in the last hours of the afternoon schedule - and before entering the evening Q1 chrono at the fast and dusty (and significantly cooler) Losail International Circuit.

Espargaro fixed the braking issue that bothered his run in FP2 on Friday and completed seven laps in Q1; setting his fastest effort of the weekend (and at Losail with the RC16) with a 1min 54.7. Pol was less than half a second from making Q2. Johann Zarco continued to focus more on his race pace set-up and feeling with the KTM RC16 on the eve of his race debut with the motorcycle. The Frenchman tried to push for two rapid lap attempts but was one of six riders to fall foul of the left-hander Turn 2 as temperatures dropped to a chilly 16 degrees.

The Red Bull KTM Tech3 crew of Miguel Oliveira and Hafizh Syahrin were also in the Q1 mix. The Portuguese slotted into 17th position, only fractions of a second behind Espargaro, while the Malaysian was less than a second adrift and occupies 22nd place.

The 22 lap MotoGP race will get underway at 18.00 CET tomorrow night.

Pol Espargaro: “Tricky today but we got back to our normal rhythm. This morning went well and we were third, and if we didn’t have that issue yesterday then I think we might have gone for Q2 but instead there was a super-high level. We were just 0.4 away. I know our race pace is better than one lap. I’m quite positive and looking forward to tomorrow.”

Johann Zarco: “I have to cross my fingers that we have better temperatures tomorrow or it will be quite difficult for me and I’ll have to be careful. I don't have a solution at the moment. So I just need to clear my mind this evening, get focused for the race and make a good start and be happy on the bike tomorrow. Normally it is a situation of keeping smooth to not overheat the tyres but at the moment it is the opposite and it is a weak point.”

Miguel Oliveira: “I thought I could do a little bit better lap time than I did in Qualifying. At the last exit there was quite a bit of confusion with the riders in front and I could not really push to make a clean lap. I’m a bit disappointed but on the other hand happy for the sixth row. I think it’s a good place to start our first race and to get near our target, which is to finish in the points.”

Hafizh Syahrin: “I was able to improve my time but not my position. We made a small step but we need to find a good rhythm for race pace. Let’s see what we can do and how we can maybe further improve on the bike. I want to enjoy the race and try to learn as much as possible.”

Moto2 & Moto3

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder was less than half a second from the Pole Position effort made by Marcel Schrotter in the Moto2 class. The South African will sit in the middle of the third row with his 8th fastest time from the Q2 session. Teammate Jorge Martin is 11th after falling without injury on Turn 2. In Moto3 Aron Canet sealed the first pole position of the season on his KTM RC 250 GP. Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Can Öncü went through to the Q2 session in the first edition of the new qualification system and rested in 17th place for his debut as a full-time member of the Grand Prix pack.

Races: March 10, 2019 – Moto3 15.00 | Moto2 16.20 | MotoGP 18.00 CET

Results Qualifying MotoGP Losail 2019

1. Maverick Viñales (ESP), Yamaha 1:53.546
2. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati +0.198
3. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda +0.199
4. Jack Miller (AUS), Ducati +0.263
5. Fabio Quartararo (FRA), Yamaha +0.400
16. Pol Espargaro (ESP), Red Bull KTM +0.562
17. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +1.565
21. Johann Zarco (FRA), Red Bull KTM +1.508
22. Hafizh Syarin (MYS), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +2.163

Results Qualifying Moto2 Losail 2019

1. Marcel Schrotter (GER) Kalex 1:58.585
2. Xavi Vierge (ESP) Kalex +0.146
3. Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA) +0.199
8. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.453
11. Jorge Martin (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.693

Results Qualifying Moto3 Losail 2019

1. Aron Canet (ESP) KTM 2:05.883
2. Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ITA) Honda +0.197
3. Kaito Toba (JPN) Honda +0.226
18. Can Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Ajo +1.755

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

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Johann Zarco KTM RC16 MotoGP Qatar 2019
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Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 MotoGP Qatar 2019
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Johann Zarco KTM RC16 MotoGP Qatar 2019
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Miguel Oliveira KTM RC16 MotoGP Qatar 2019
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Hazifh Syahrin KTM RC16 MotoGP Qatar 2019
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