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Oliveira top qualifier in first of two Austrian MotoGP™ Grands Prix

– Oliveira makes Q2 and takes 12th place on the grid despite a small crack in his right wrist

– Binder qualifies 16th in Styria as Dani Pedrosa is 14th fastest

– Deniz Öncü claims first Moto3™ Pole Position, first for Red Bull KTM Tech3 and for Turkey

– Second Moto2™ Pole Position of the season for Remy Gardner

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing started the second half of the 2021 MotoGP season with a rapid qualification run at the Red Bull Ring. In sunny conditions at Spielberg Miguel Oliveira notched his eight Q2 appearance and 12th on the grid for tomorrow’s Michelin Grand Prix of Styria.

The first of two Grands Prix around the spectacular but fast ten-corner layout of the Red Bull Ring brought MotoGP back to life after a five-week summer hiatus. The Styrian round saw a decent quantity of race fans return to MotoGP events and the customary KTM grandstand was packed with eager spectators.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing was able to welcome test rider and MotoGP Legend Dani Pedrosa into the garage for his first competitive outing since retirement at the end of 2018. The Spaniard was using his wild-card appearance to refresh his feeling and knowledge of MotoGP for future development.

Weather conditions remained warm and consistently bright throughout Saturday. All five KTM RC16s riders entered the Q1 qualification period after a tricky day of Free Practice on Friday where the teams had to negotiate dry and wet sessions.

Miguel Oliveira, who was dealing with a painful right wrist after a spill at Turn 3 on Friday, set his best lap after eight attempts that ended up being just five thousandths of a second behind Alex Marquez. It enabled the Portuguese to occupy the second slot overall and move into Q2. In the fifteen-minute session Oliveira attacked for four laps with limited tire options but finally rested in 12th.

The rest of the KTM group filled places in Q1. Highest was Pedrosa – in 14th – and less than two tenths of a second from an impressive Q2 cut. Brad Binder was two spots behind in 16th. The South African held promising pace in the first two sectors of the Red Bull Ring but could not construct a full lap to remain in Q2 contention. Tech3 KTM Factory Racing’s Iker Lecuona ranked 19th while Danilo Petrucci was 22nd.

The Styrian Grand Prix begins with Moto3 at 11.00. Moto2 follows at 12.20 and then MotoGP at 14.00 CET. The weather forecast predicts stormy showers and an unstable climate for Sunday.

Miguel Oliveira: “It was really tough today. I have a lot of pain but with all the activity and once you warm-up it was more manageable. We are doing everything we can to recover in time between sessions and to do the best possible to try and be competitive this weekend. To do the qualifying was hard because the amount of energy you need to put into one lap is a lot. I’m happy that I could ride and to make a ‘first’ day here because I couldn’t take anything out of the first sessions yesterday. The most important thing after this injury is to score points and make a good effort tomorrow.”

Dani Pedrosa: “Today was like a big, long qualifying! I had only that mentality from the morning to the afternoon. It was all good and I had quite a good feeling. Unfortunately, I missed Q2 directly by just a little bit. We focussed on FP4 and we did a little race situation-training. It’s good to be matching my pace with the others and being somewhere in the middle. It is also quite tight and one mistake in one corner you are ‘off’, so it is not simple to make a perfect lap. I still have the race to go but I already felt and saw what I wanted to see. I already get more or less the big picture of what I was missing when I was not racing. It is already clear for me what the next step is to do.”

Brad Binder: “A difficult Q1 I felt I had quite good speed but had lost a bit of feeling in FP4. I felt I was pushing too much in the wrong places and going too deep on the brakes and didn’t get a clean lap. It will be difficult to start in 16th tomorrow but I’ve started back there before and have always been able to make my way forward.”

Iker Lecuona: “It was a difficult day. We struggled a lot in the morning and tried different bases on the bike. I finally feel better and I managed to improve a lot in the final minutes of FP3 but in the warmer conditions in the afternoon I was struggling again and I don’t really understand why. The race is tomorrow. We will check the weather and see what happens. I know if the bike is working well and the team is pushing like usual, we have a chance for a good result.”

Danilo Petrucci:“I was quite happy about the feeling I had in FP4 with the race setup. Then I didn’tfind the perfect lap for Qualifying. I always made some small mistakes, so finally our starting position is not good at all. We will need to do a good start and try to do some overtaking. We will have to see about the weather tomorrow anyway.”

KTM GP Academy Red Bull KTM Tech’3 Deniz Öncüwas the fastest rider in Moto3 Q2. The young Turk was two hundreds of a second quicker than Sergio Garcia to secure his – and his team’s first Pole Position – in the class and with the KTM RC4. World Championship leader Pedro Acosta was not far away. The Red Bull KTM Ajo man was just a tenth of a second slower than his brand mate and he took 4th for the first position on the second row of the grid.

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Remy Gardner was the pacesetter in Moto2. The Australian currently leads the championship standings and he will front the intermediate class pack from the top of the grid for 25 laps on Sunday. Teammate Raul Fernandez was only three tenths of a second slower. The Spaniard, who had been confirmed as the second Tech3 KTM Factory Racing rider in MotoGP in 2022, will line-up in 4th.

Deniz Öncü: “This is very special for me as it is the first Turkish Pole in this category. Honestly, we weren’t expecting pole position this weekend. Yesterday we came back from the summer break and I was struggling to regain my feeling on the Moto3 bike but my team did an amazing job, we had a great setup, especially in FP3. Finally, I’m in pole position and I’m super happy. In any case, I’m ready for the race tomorrow!”

Remy Gardner: “I feel good. After struggling in FP2 we finally got everything sorted out. I wasn’t sure I could expect the Pole but I was happy to bring it home and it’s great to be back in Parc Ferme after the summer break. We’ll see what happens with the rainy forecast for tomorrow now.”

Northern Talent Cup & Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup

The Michelin Grand Prix of Styria allowed a wealth of KTM machinery to take to the Austrian asphalt with the ninth and tenth rounds of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and fifth fixture of seven in the 2021 Northern Talent Cup series. On Saturday afternoon the ‘Rookies’ were first to the grid and Daniel Muñoz prevailed through 17 hard-fought laps. The 16 lap NTC sprint followed where Rossi Moor ruled the opening sprint.

Races: August 8th, 2021 – Moto3 11.00 CET | Moto2 12.20 CET| MotoGP 14.00 CET

Results Qualifying MotoGP Michelin Grand Prix of Styria

1. Jorge Martin (ESP) Ducati 1:22.994

2. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati +0.044

3. Fabio Quartararo (FRA) Yamaha +0.081

4. Jack Miller (AUS) Ducati +0.306

5. Joan Mir (ESP) Ducati +0.328

12. Miguel Oliveira (POR) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +0.950

14. Dani Pedrosa (ESP) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:23.730

16. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:24.050

19. Iker Lecuona (ESP) Tech3 KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:24.141

22. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Tech3 KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:24.465

Results Qualifying Moto2 Michelin Grand Prix of Styria

1. Remy Gardner (AUS) Red Bull KTM Ajo 1:28.668

2. Ai Ogura (JPN) +0.121

3. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) +0.143

4. Raul Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.310

Results Qualifying Moto3 Michelin Grand Prix of Styria

1. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Tech3 1:36.453

2. Sergio Garcia (ESP) GASGAS +0.024

3. Romano Fenati (ITA) Husqvarna +0.053

4. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.122

5. Izan Guevara (ESP) GASGAS +0.278 +0.182

7. Jaume Masia (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.18415. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) KTM +0.663