Best grid position for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing at German Grand Prix

Posted on Jul 01, 2017 by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

In the 90th year of the Sachsenring, a little bit more history was made today as Red Bull KTM MotoGP Factory Racing took their best grid position so far with Pol Espargaro brilliantly taking his KTM RC16 from Q1 into Q2, ultimately scoring a superb 7th position. In treacherously wet conditions he steered a perfect lap as the half way point of the project's first season approaches tomorrow. Team mate Bradley Smith took 15th while Finn Mika Kallio, a wild card this weekend, completed the trio in 17th.

As the half way point of the season approaches, there were cheers in the KTM MotoGP garage this afternoon as Pol Espargaro dug deep in the first qualifying session to finish inside the all important top two that advance forward into Q2 where the top 12 positions for the grid are decided. At the shortest circuit on the eighteen race calendar, but with brand new grippy tarmac, Espargaro used his KTM to good effect getting 7th and a third row slot for tomorrow's race; the best for the KTM MotoGP project so far.

Bradley Smith also fought well on his No.38 KTM to bag 15th as he learnt things in the wet and dry conditions. He is confident of points tomorrow whatever the weather.

KTM MotoGP Test Rider Mika Kallio made his debut at this track in 2001, also as a wildcard, with the Ajo Motorsport team, starting his career that then saw him win here in 2005 on a 125cc KTM. Over the two days of practice he had a little more horsepower available than twelve years ago to show very strong race pace in the dry practice sessions, only to be baulked in qualifying by another rider. He will start 17th Kallio has already completed tests in Sepang, Doha, Mugello, Le Mans, Jerez, Brno and Barcelona this year. This is the first time the KTM RC16 has been to the Sachsenring.

Bradley Smith (Factory Rider MotoGP):
"I am happy as it's my best qualifying with KTM aside from Le Mans, let's say, which is a huge thumbs up for my side of the garage and the KTM team as a whole. We've always struggled a little bit in the rain, but with wet Assen qualifying last week where I was a little bit back, we learnt more this week leading to some changes, and as a result we're moving forward because of that. I am a little disappointed with the last lap in Q1 as I had a small mistake in the fourth sector that cost me the chance to go through, but today was good in general for the team; Mika was flying out there as Pol managed to nail it behind me, but you gotta use what you gotta use and with him in 7th it's great for the whole KTM MotoGP project. Tomorrow we are not yet sure of tyre choices and the way to go, but nevertheless we are figuring a few things out for the warm up in the morning. Overall I'm really pleased as there's been such great progress in the right direction."

Sebastian Risse (Technical Director MotoGP):
"In total a very good day. For sure some ups and downs but we are quite competitive in the wet while in the dry we are also there as well. For the tyre choice tomorrow if it is dry will be a quite interesting one but we're not sure of this at the moment. We have different impressions from different riders about this after trying all of the choices but depending on conditions the plan tomorrow morning will be quite a big part of the result, so who makes the correct choice will gain a lot. We will see. We will try our best and use all of the information we have – of course more information than normal – because we have three riders with Mika here. I'm quite positive about it so I'm looking forward to what we can do. Overall it's so nice to have, let's say, a pay back, and have a result like this especially at a race like this in Germany, close to our home and with a big number of KTM fans who are here and appreciate that result with us." a lot more than usual. I'll do my best to try to finish at the front."

Races: July 2, 2017 – Moto3 11:00 | Moto2 12:20 CET | Moto2 14:00 | Red Bull Rookies Cup 15:30

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