Red Bull KTM takes best ever qualifying position at Phillip Island

Posted on Oct 21, 2017 by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing have taken their first second row grid slot in MotoGP today with Pol Espargaro clinching sixth position in qualifying for tomorrow’s Australian Grand Prix.

The Phillip Island racetrack in Australia saw the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing squad take their best qualifying position so far in MotoGP when Pol Espargaro sped to 6th position and a second row start. The sinuous, flowing ribbon of tarmac that makes up the 4.4km ocean-side circuit is often called one of the best circuits to race a Grand Prix motorcycle at, meaning the result has extra meaning for the Austrian manufacturer in its first season of MotoGP.

Team mate Bradley Smith on the sister KTM RC16 sped his way through Q1 to advance into Q2 for the first time in dry conditions, but his focus and drive meant that he progressed to his second top ten grid slot in two races with a tenacious ninth.

Both KTMs headed the top speed charts in final qualifying with 340 and 338kph (211 and 210mph) respectively. Following on from a two day test after the Aragon MotoGP, this weekend has been the first time the KTM crew have had to confirm their engineering settings in the dry as last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix was wet throughout all three days.

Bradley Smith (Factory Rider MotoGP):
“Today was a great day for the KTM team. It started with some rain this morning but I got through Q1 into Q2 and I was making improvements step by step. The team did a fabulous job and we are especially happy as that’s our first advance into Q2 in the dry rather than the wet of Le Mans, Sachsenring or Japan. Now we’re going to work on some data and look forward to the race around this glorious race track. 

Sebastian Risse (Technical Director MotoGP):
“Finally we were back in the dry this weekend and what we see on one hand is 120% commitment from both riders at a riders’ track and on the other it is the results of our post Aragon GP test from which we’ve made some more technical changes on the bike. Motegi last weekend was all wet and now we see in the dry how the bike is and it seems we’ve made a good step forward. Sure, this is on one track but Phillip Island is special in itself as you need confidence with the bike to go through a lap essentially with one straight.”

Races: October 22, 2017 – Moto3 13:00 | Moto2 14:20 CET | MotoGP 16:00

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