03.11.2018

Sixth row for Red Bull KTM after rain-lashed Malaysian MotoGP qualification

QUALIFYING 18th Rd. MotoGP 2018 – Sepang International Circuit (MAL)
Pol Espargaro KTM RC16 Sepang International Circuit 2018

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MotoGP
Moving north from Phillip Island to reach the popular climes of Sepang brought MotoGP to the third round in three consecutive weeks and the second-to-last Grand Prix of a long season that begun with the first official test back at the Malaysian circuit in February. 
 
Through the heat and humidity, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team worked hard for the mix of heavy braking zones and fast curves of the Sepang course and again hovered around their habitual position just outside the top ten of the premier class pack. Pol Espargaro managed to drop his best lap-time by over a second from Free Practice 1 to 3. 
 
Grey skies looked ominous for the qualification schedule earlier this morning. The riders enjoyed a dry FP4 and managed just half a lap of Q1 before the heavens opened and the circuit was flooded with excessive standing water. Red flags called the session to a halt as Bradley Smith and Espargaro immediately returned to pitlane. After a sizeable delay both Espargaro and Smith could squeeze in two short runs in the wet on their KTM RC16. Smith in particular was frustrated as a crash at Turn 11 ruined his chances of a Q2 slot and Espargaro opted for a Medium tyre choice that didn't quite pay off.
 
Espargaro: “I’m not happy with the result. Last year here we went through to Q2. I had some good options in the dry and with the Soft tyre we found a good set-up, but then it rained! I decided to try the Medium rear and it was good in some areas whereas the Soft was good in others. I didn't get enough laps to make a good time with the Medium. Anyway, tomorrow hopefully it will be dry and if we make a good start then I think our race rhythm is not bad.”
 
Smith: “A bit of a missed opportunity and those are the ones that hurt the most. If we had made it through to Q2 then I think the front few rows were possible and life might have been a lot easier for tomorrow. I feel I have the pace and FP4 was one of my better sessions in the dry. If it’s wet tomorrow then we’ll keep everything as it and hope for the best.”
 
Sebastian Risse (Technical Director MotoGP): “It’s clear we were struggling on this track but we did make progress and saw some light at the end of the tunnel in FP3. We were disappointed that it rained but we also saw that it presented a chance for us. It meant making some quick decisions about tyres and with hindsight not right ones but you have to start somewhere. We learned a lot in the wet today and I think we can be confident if it is a wet race. We’re missing some track time to finalise the package for the dry but we’ll use warm-up and see where we end up.”
 
Moto2 & Moto3
Moto2 winner in Australia last week, Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder, clocked the 9th fastest lap on his KTM Moto2 before the storms erupted at Sepang. The South African was just a tenth of a second slower than teammate Miguel Oliveira who sits in 7th place and one spot behind championship rival Pecco Bagnaia. 

Oliveira"Today's qualifying session at Sepang went well. We set a good lap at the beginning, but then the rest of the session was trickier. We lost some grip, even with the new tyres, but the important thing is that we head the third row and this will allow us to fight for the win in the race. The objective tomorrow will be to make a good start, push from the beginning and give everything to achieve the best possible result."
 
Five KTM RC250 GP motorcycles fill the first two rows of the Moto3 grid tomorrow. World Championship rivals Jorge Martin and Marco Bezzecchi head the way with John McPhee and Australian Grand Prix winner Albert Arenas also in the top five. The 17 lap Moto3 sprint will get the race programme underway at 03.00 CET tomorrow.


UPDATE Races: November 4, 2018 – Moto3 10:00 | Moto2 11:20 | MotoGP 13:00 GMT +8h

Results Qualifying MotoGP Sepang International Circuit 2018 

1. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda, 2:12.161 min
2. Johann Zarco (FRA), Yamaha, +0.548 sec
3. Valentino Rossi (ITA), Yamaha, +0.848
4. Andrea Iannone (ITA), Suzuki, +0.936
5. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati, +1.022
KTM
16. Pol Espargaro (ESP), KTM, +1.971
17. Bradley Smith (GBR), KTM, +2.171

Results Qualifying Moto2 Sepang International Circuit 2018 
1. Alex Marquez (ESP), Kalex, 2:05.629 min
2. Luca Marini (ITA), Kalex, +0.488 sec
3. Fabio Quartararo (FRA), Speed Up, +0.666 
4. Remy Gardner (AUS), Tech 3, +0.718
5. Mattia Pasini (ITA), Kalex, +0.810
KTM
7. Miguel Oliveira (POR), KTM, +0.988
9. Brad Binder (RSA), KTM, +1.112

Results Qualifying Moto3 Sepang International Circuit 2018 
1. Jorge Martin (ESP), Honda, 2:11.731 min
2. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA), KTM, +0.032 sec
3. Tony Arbolino (ITA), Honda, +0.334
4. John McPhee (GBR), KTM, +0.350
5. Albert Arenas (ESP), KTM, +0.480 
KTM
8. Kazuki Masaki (JAP), KTM, +0.896
11. Darryn Binder (RSA), KTM, +1.017

>> LINK MOTO2 PICTURES KTM MEDIA LIBRARY
>> LINK MOTO3 PICTURES KTM MEDIA LIBRARY

PHILIPP GRÜNBERGER
PR MANAGER MOTOGP
philipp.gruenberger@ktm.com
0043 664 6217921

www.motogp.com
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Darryn Binder KTM RC250 GP Sepang International Circuit 2018
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