Miguel Oliveira takes hard-fought front row spot at Phillip Island
The second day of the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island featured a hard-fought qualifying session, in which the Moto3 riders competed as if it were a race.
With no time to relax due to the new regulations for practice sessions, the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders had to find their openings at the short Australian track to achieve their best position possible on the grid.
For the sixth race this season, Miguel Oliveira –third– will start tomorrow from the front row whilst Brad Binder –tenth– and Karel Hanika –twelfth– will do so from the third and fourth row, respectively, due to sanctions to other riders.
The new regulations in place forced the Moto3 riders to use new strategies in the 40-minute qualifying session. The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders went out on track together looking for slipstreams –more important than ever because of the wind at the circuit.
The trio moved into the Top 5 momentarily with 22 minutes remaining, with Oliveira improving at the end to take third –1:36.606. Hanika was twelfth –1:37.134– and Binder –tenth; 1:37.169– ended his QP with 16 minutes still on the clock, due to a mechanical problem.
The sanction for several riders in qualifying today allows Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder to gain a position on the starting grid.
The race will be held two hours later than usual –1pm local time, 4am in Europe– and the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders will have the opportunity to repeat the victory achieved by the team courtesy of Jack Miller last year.
44 MIGUEL OLIVEIRA
“The qualifying session went quite well. In the afternoon there was a little more wind, and this made it difficult to ride easily in the 1:36’s. I delayed my last stint as long as possible to find the best gap on track. I was able to set three very good laps, riding virtually alone, and this gives me a lot of confidence going into tomorrow’s race. At this circuit the grid position is not as important, as there is sure to be a large group at the front. There will be parts of the track where there will be a lot of overtaking, so I will try to be as smart as possible on track and fight for another podium finish.”