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Oliveira fastest qualifier with 9th place for second Austrian MotoGP

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing saw both of their riders push through to Q2 for the third time this season at a sunny Red Bull Ring for the Bitci Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich. Miguel Oliveira captured the last slot on the third row of the grid and was just ahead of Brad Binder who was 10th and heads the fourth row.

– Oliveira set to start from 9th and the third row at Red Bull Ring ‘2’
– Both Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders in Q2 and the top ten with Binder 10th
– Jaume Masia leads Red Bull KTM Moto3 quartet with 4th place on the grid
– Gardner sets new Moto2 lap record in Free Practice but Fernandez 2nd best in Q2

Sunshine and +20 degree weather graced Saturday’s Free Practice and Qualification at the Red Bull Ring as MotoGP gathered at the fast and hard-braking course for the second time in a week. Round eleven provided KTM with another chance to chase success in all three Grand Prix classes.

Miguel Oliveira was still trying to deal with the discomfort of the small fissure in his right wrist but had used the week in Austria for rehab and recuperation. The Portuguese was able to muster a lap to emerge from Q1 with 2nd place to join teammate Brad Binder in Q2; the South African had been quicker and more competitive in his second attempt at the Red Bull Ring and earned his slot directly after positive work through the Free Practice sessions.

While Oliveira tried to use the full potential of his remaining tires to find a lap just eight tenths off the Pole Position effort (and circulate half a second faster than the previous Saturday) Binder made a small mistake in his last flying-lap attempt and rested six hundredths of a second behind the other Red Bull KTM RC16.

Tech3 KTM Factory Racing pair Iker Lecuona and Danilo Petrucci remained in Q1 and will start the 28-lap contest from 16th and 19th positions.

Miguel Oliveira: “At the end of the day, we made a good improvement from the morning to the afternoon. I felt faster but we are struggling a little bit. I felt I could not get the maximum out of the tire in Q2 but still to secure the third row is better than last weekend. My hand is not yet 100%, and we still need to improve how we use the ride-height device and reduce our braking time and accelerating as fast as possible. So, I’m looking forward to analyzing more things with the team later and then tomorrow’s race.”

Brad Binder: “I’d like to say I had a second in the pocket but the reality is that I could have done two-three tenths better but more than that would have been really tough. I think we need to look at where we were last week; we are much stronger [now] over one lap and also our pace in general is faster too. So to make it through to Q2 was a great start for sure. In Q2 I didn’t feel like I put the perfect lap together but at the end of the day I’m quite happy starting in 10th place. It is two rows better than last week. Six people that I don’t need to try and pass. Hopefully tomorrow I can get a good start and just try to push on and see how we get on in the race. I feel much more ready than I was last week and ready to go out and have a really strong race.”

Iker Lecuona: “I’m happy about today because we improved the race pace a lot compared to last week. In my time attack I managed to improve also. In FP3 the gap was also very small, I didn’t miss out on the top 10 by much. In Qualifying we had a technical issue on my number one bike, so I had to change. Then I made some small mistakes because I was a bit nervous, so I couldn’t ride as good as I know I can. But we are there, and just wait how the weather will be tomorrow. In any case, I’m ready.”

Danilo Petrucci: “When I always try to improve in braking, I make some mistakes and this is exactly what happened today. I was happy about my feeling in FP4, the pace was pretty good, but when I try to make up some time with the new tires, we lose on the straight and I can’t stop the bike properly. I’m definitely not happy with my lap time in Qualifying. Regarding our race pace, I still think we can stick with our target to bring home some points tomorrow.”

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