- Espargaro to sit in the middle of the 2nd row of the MotoGP grid
- All three Red Bull KTMs make Q2 after Binder heads Q1
- KTM lockout first three places in Moto3 with Darryn Binder on Pole
The second Grand Prix to take place at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit this week again presented the MotoGP pack with a difficult and unpredictable challenge. Red Bull KTM negotiated a dry and sunny set of Free Practice sessions on Friday but Saturday morning and the dash for Q2 selection was more complicated with cloudy skies, brief showers and damp and temperate conditions.
Pol Espargaro and Miguel Oliveira built on their positive pace and results from the Gran Premio de Europa the previous Sunday by guiding their KTM RC16s straight into Q2. Brad Binder was able to mark the fastest time in Q1 – before the latest batch of rainfall – and joined his fellow KTM riders in the push for the first four rows of the grid.
During the lightly damp 12-minute rush both Oliveira and Binder held Pole Position in the early stages and Espargaro was also hovering around the top three. The order flipped rapidly and with numerous changes at the top as the last lap-attacks came into the play. By the time of the checkered flag, Espargaro was just three-tenths of a second from his third Pole of the season. Binder was 9th and half a second away while Oliveira was very close as well in 10th.
Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Iker Lecuona produced three negative PCR tests for COVID-19 this week but turned in a positive result before joining the garage on Friday and was again forced to self-isolate and will miss the second Valencian Grand Prix.
Pol Espargaro: “Overall it was a great day. Not quite as good as the Pole Position last week, but to start from the second row is still positive. We made the good lap-time in the morning and then did a lot of laps in FP4 to understand the tire drop for the race tomorrow and get the most info. It was tricky with the track conditions but we did another good time in Q2. We’ll focus on a good start and see where we can arrive at the end of the race.”
Brad Binder: “Not a bad day at all. In FP3 this morning I didn’t get a good lap together and that was a bit disappointing but I was quite happy to get a good couple of runs in FP4. We made a step today and my rhythm was strong in qualifying. Due to Q1 I didn’t have any tires left for Q2. I had one new rear but no new fronts. My team made a good step forward with the bike setting. I felt much better and I think we’ll have a good race tomorrow.
”Miguel Oliveira: “It was a good day. The afternoon was very tricky to understand how much we could push. I felt good with the bike. Just on the last run, I couldn’t improve enough to at least make it to the front two rows, so I’m sad for that. I made a mistake in turn two of the last lap. Anyway, I think we have a strong pace for the race, we were working decently, therefore we just need a good start and need to avoid any contact in the first few corners.”
Moto2 & Moto3
Darryn Binder took his KTM RC4 to the first Pole Position of his career and was just four-hundredths of a second faster than Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM duo Kaito Toba and Raul Fernandez after Moto3 Q2. The South African will head the Japanese and the Spaniard – who won at Valencia last Sunday – for the 23-lap race on Sunday morning. Q2 was a tense session with eighteen riders all within a second of each other. In total there were five KTM RC4s in the top six. Championship leader Albert Arenas sits at the end of the second row of the grid in 6th place.
In Moto2 Jorge Martin registered the 5th best lap to nestle onto the second row. Red Bull KTM Ajo teammate Tetsuta Nagashima could not emerge from Q1 and will start the 25-laps from 25th.
David Muñoz won the penultimate race in the 2020 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. New champion Pedro Acosta crashed on the first corner while fighting for a top three position.
Races: November 15th, 2020 – Moto3 11.00 | Moto2 12.20 | MotoGP 14.00 CET
Results Qualifying MotoGP Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana
1. Franco Morbidelli (ITA) Yamaha 1:30.191
2. Jack Miller (ESP) Ducati +0.096
3. Takaaki Nakagami (JPN) Honda +0.222
4. Johann Zarco (FRA) Ducati +0.329
5. Pol Espargaro (ESP) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +0.362
9. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +0.546
10. Miguel Oliveira (POR) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +0.590
Results Qualifying Moto2 Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana
1. Stefano Manzi (ITA) 1:34.418
2. Hector Garzo (ESP) +0.013
3. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) +0.076
5. Jorge Martin (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.229
23. Tetsuta Nagashima (JPN) Red Bull KTM Ajo (Q1) 1:35.179
Results Qualifying Moto3 Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana
1. Darryn Binder (RSA) KTM 1:38.286
2. Kaito Toba (JPN) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.043
3. Raul Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.161