MotoGP 2020 - Round 04, Red Bull Ring (Austria)
Sunshine and stormy showers created tricky conditions around the spectacular but deserted Red Bull Ring circuit during Friday and Saturday for the first ‘double-header’ at the Austrian venue. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro missed the support of the public and the roar from the KTM grandstand but continued his impressive speed from the Czech Republic last weekend to place 1st in FP1 and FP4; demonstrating excellent race pace in the final practice session. A crash in FP4 disrupted his preparation for Q2 but he still pushed for his first Pole Position and missed out by just over a tenth of a second.
Sensational winner in Brno last Sunday, Brad Binder, reminded onlookers of his rookie status for 2020 as he suffered with a lack of effective laps on the RC16 around the Red Bull Ring straights and curves. The South African, who claimed victory in the 2019 Moto2 sprint at the track, worked on his race set-up and orientation and will start his fourth MotoGP outing from 17th.
Red Bull KTM Tech3 duo Miguel Oliveira and Iker Lecuona will launch from the fourth (11th) and sixth (16th) rows of the grid. The Portuguese in particular has strong potential at Red Bull Ring. He scored an 8th position in the race during the summer of 2019: it was his highest classification of a maiden campaign in the premier class.
Pol Espargaro: “Overall, it was amazing. In FP4 we had by far the best race rhythm on the grid and that’s super-important for tomorrow. I was then getting more and more pumped and I was going faster and faster and maybe just a bit too fast for the front wheel and I crashed. For sure that didn’t help for qualifying; I had to use my second bike also and we were milliseconds from the Pole Position. Imagine how tight that was!I think we can do a good race. We have a good rhythm. We are quite confident, and the set-up of the bike is awesome.”
Brad Binder: “Today I really felt the effects of not much track time. I was making a lot of mistakes on track and not finding my markers. It it hasn’t been easy so far. I made a little step forward in FP4 which I was happy about.I tried to improve and managed to do that slightly but there was much more potential there today. So, I will go through my data, reset and go again tomorrow.”
Miguel Oliveira: “It was a tough qualifying and everyone was very close. It was not easy to do a good lap time in FP4, my feeling was not perfect. We managed to do some changes to the bike but finally not enough to make me go a little bit faster. Tire choice is still a question mark for us but anyway I’m positive for the race. Our pace is quite good and it will be interesting.”
Iker Lecuona: “About today, I’m really happy! In FP3 it was difficult to manage the weather, we started in wet conditions and later it dried up, so it was hard to improve. I had a great feeling with the bike and was full of confidence but eventually I made some mistakes on my fastest lap. But I continued to work in FP4, which was really strong for me. Later in Qualifying, I pushed incredibly hard, I didn’t have any more to give. But, still, I’m super delighted about my job done today. I missed Q2 by only 0.5 seconds, so it was very close. A huge thank you to my team for their help!”
Moto2 & Moto3
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Raul Fernandez toasted his second consecutive career Pole Position in the Moto3 class with a lap-time that was only a hundredth of a second ahead of fellow KTM RC4 rider (and current world championship leader) Albert Arenas. The two Spaniards will lead the front row at one of the fastest circuits on the calendar. In Moto2 Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jorge Martin was only three hundredths of a second from the top spot filled by Remy Gardner. His teammate Tetsuta Nagashima was 18th.
In the first outing of the 2020 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, Pedro Acosta (the 2019 runner-up) narrowly grabbed the checkered flag to celebrate his fourth race triumph.
Raul Fernandez: “Today was very positive. I took it easy in the last Free Practice session because of the shape the track was in, and I wouldn’t have been able to draw many conclusions. However, in the afternoon we managed to take another pole and I am happy about that. Now we have to continue working to improve some aspects of the bike with our sights set on tomorrow's race. If we can get me feeling a little more comfortable, we could be fighting for the podium."
Races: August 16th, 2020 – Moto3 11.00 | Moto2 12.20 | MotoGP 14.00 CET
Results Qualifying MotoGP myWorld Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich 2020
1. Maverick Viñales (ESP) Yamaha 1:23.450
2. Jack Miller (AUS), Ducati +0.068
3. Fabio Quartararo (FRA), Yamaha +0.087
4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati +0.156
5. Pol Espargaro (ESP), Red Bull KTM +0.162
11. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +0.489
16. Iker Lecuona (ESP), Red Bull KTM Tech3 (Q1) 1:24.405
17. Brad Binder (RSA), Red Bull KTM (Q1) 1:24.485
Results Qualifying Moto2 myWorld Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich 2020
1. Remy Gardner (AUS) 1:28.681
2. Jorge Martin (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.036
3. Marcel Schrotter (GER) +0.064
18. Tetsuta Nagashima (JPN) Red Bull KTM Ajo 1:29.854
Results Qualifying Moto3 myWorld Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich 2020
1. Raul Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo 1:36.277
2. Albert Arenas (ESP) KTM +0.011
3. John McPhee (GBR) Honda +0.029
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