Best MotoGP qualifing for Red Bull KTM at Motegi

Posted on Oct 14, 2017 by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing have had a brilliant day at the Japanese circuit of Motegi with a 7th and an 8th position for Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro with their KTM RC16 motorcycles. Indeed, today was one of the best days the MotoGP project has had at a Grand Prix as both riders advanced through Q1 to Q2 – a landmark first for KTM MotoGP. The result is all the more impressive as before yesterday the RC16 motorcycle had never turned a wheel at the Japanese track before.

KTM’s previous best grid slot was 7th at the Sachsenring with Espargaro but to have both motorcycles together on the third row of the grid is not only proof the commitment from the riders but also the on going development behind the scenes at KTM Motorsport headquarters in Austria.

For Smith it is his best grid position aboard the KTM RC16 MotoGP motorcycle as the trio of races in Asia kick off over the next three weekends in Japan, Australia and Malaysia. Motegi is the last circuit on the 2017 calendar where the KTM has not turned a wheel before, so this strong result is all the more positive for the future.

Bradley Smith (Factory Rider MotoGP):
“Today was one of those days where with those drying track conditions it could have gone either way at the end of Q1 but I was 2nd right behind Pol. A great result for us! In Q2 itself I knew I had to be smart with my knowledge of Q1 and use the tyre in the right way when the track was as dry as possible. We are 7th on the grid tomorrow and that makes our life so much easier. It looks like it will be a wet race tomorrow which makes the start even more critical because this track can get very wet indeed that in turn gives a lot of spray. However; today was crucial and I took the opportunity when it was there so to do this for KTM, the team and for all my guys on my side of the garage, it feels very good indeed.”

Sebastian Risse (Technical Director MotoGP):
“We have however enjoyed the moment as it was so good today to have both Bradley and Pol having making this the best ‘Saturday afternoon’ of the KTM MotoGP project to be both on the third row of the grid. The whole team is super happy with what we have done today so now we’re concentrating on tomorrow. We’re here for the first time but when you have wet sessions it isn’t as consistent as you think so you have to adapt to this, but when we didn’t have a good session in practice we worked hard to know why and it looks like we knew how to fix it. We’ve had a good day but we must concentrate on these races ahead.”

Races: October 15, 2017 – Moto3 04:00 | Moto2 05:20 | MotoGP 07:00 CET

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