Positive qualifing for Red Bull KTM at Aragon
Posted on Sep 23, 2017 by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Fog cleared for fantastic conditions today at the Aragon circuit in Spain, bringing with it a day of positives for KTM with three Red Bull KTM RC16 motorcycles on track.
Following a successful test after the Misano Grand Prix, updated parts were brought to Aragon to further push forward the KTM MotoGP project with test rider Mika Kallio doing a wildcard for the third time this year. Mika had huge pace on the KTM RC16 in free practice to be fifth and assure himself a place in the all important Q2 qualifying slot. The Finn flew on the first run to be a stunning seventh, but fell through the last corner on his second run denying him the opportunity to set an absolute time. Nevertheless he will start in 12th position.
Team mate Pol Espargaro did huge steps forward technically today and was only 0.1 secs from going through to Q2 as he quickly acquainted himself with new parts too, but this speed is hugely encouraging for the technical side of things both at the track and back in KTM Motorsport HQ in Austria. Bradley Smith had pace and speed but got caught up with other riders on his faster laps.
Bradley Smith (Factory Rider MotoGP):
"The overall day was OK. In FP4 we seemed to find something on race tyres and for a bike that's going to be solid over race distance. Then I was pleased with a 1m 49.5 on the first run on the new tyre but on the second run I got caught up with another rider on both laps so that was my own error. The good thing is that the bike is working very well here and I've got some fast data to check and help me improve in order to find my way through the pack tomorrow."
Sebastian Risse (Technical Director MotoGP):
"In total we are happy. For sure we always want more but this was not a bad day at all. Yesterday's rain cut things short a little in terms of set up time especially as we brought some new parts and of course we want to understand what's better, but in the end the performance today has shown that these parts are good and that we've made a step forward. Mika here with Pol and Bradley has seen them push each other to the limit – sometimes that works, sometimes that doesn't, but all three of them tried very hard indeed. Let us not forget that between a qualifying time and the race pace it can be a different story so we will see what we will show best in the end but I'm very positive that they will all show their best tomorrow. I'm very positive indeed."