Another strong orange result for KTM across all three classes today for the British MotoGP at Silverstone

Bradley Smith & Mechanic KTM RC16 Pit Lane Silverstone Circuit 2017

A sunny day at Silverstone saw blue skies and another strong orange result for KTM across all three classes today for the British Grand Prix. The Red Bull KTM MotoGP Factory Racing team saw Pol Espargaro 11th at the flag after arguably his strongest practice and qualifying in the lead up to the race. As with the MotoGP team, the KTM Moto2 squad hadn’t been to the British track before but had two top ten finishes for Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder while Gabriel Rodrigo was top KTM in Moto3 in one of the closest races seen for some time.

MotoGP

For the third race in a row the Red Bull KTM MotoGP Factory Racing team have had a positive result, this time on their first ever visit to Silverstone with Pol Espargaro coming home in 11th spot after a fabulous qualifying performance from the KTM RC16 motorcycle. Pol finished in 11th spot on the longest circuit of the eighteen race calendar – a track notoriously difficult for set up with its fast straights and slow corners all in one 5.9 km track. Unluckily for Espargaro he had a medium speed tumble after the finish line with a problem the team have never encountered before. Fortunately he was soon on his feet and back to the garage. Bradley Smith at his home race had a new crew chief and worked well with him as the second half of the season gets underway. He found the hotter weather on race day wasn’t quite to his set up parameters and finished just outside the points.

Espargaro“Maybe we started today with the bar set a little bit too high following a great Brno, Spielberg and then a great first run in qualifying here (seventh) but we didn’t expect these conditions to be so hot and that maybe hurt us a little. At the start of the race I could follow the top guys and do some good laps but step by step the rear tyre dropped a little bit as the hard compound didn’t help us so much. But… no excuses… At the start we could fight when full grip was there and we’ve learnt more as a team to eventually be only 30 seconds off the winner whereas in June at Barcelona we were much more. We are improving…but we remember these improvements don’t come easy and that is why the team and the guys at KTM Motorsport in Austria are on it.”

Smith: “I had a great start and was very aggressive in the opening laps to get myself up the order. Then as the race progressed, maybe the tyre choice wasn’t the best but with this temperature being a little higher than before maybe we looked at what the others were doing too much. Should we have taken a risk with another tyre? That can then be the recipe for ‘hero or zero’ so one has to be careful. We’ve learnt a lot this weekend and felt that we have found some good pace to hold in there until the halfway point but I lost the grip and confidence that I needed to make the front work. Obviously it’s heartbreaking to finish a British GP like this but the intent was there from me and all of the boys in the garage but now we focus on Misano where we had a day’s testing last Monday.”

Mike Leitner (Team Manager MotoGP): “The weekend was good here especially as though we’ve never been here before and because a Silverstone is very difficult with all these bumps, fast and tight corners too. You really need to work on a good setting but the reality is in four sessions it’s very difficult to bridge the gap to the other manufacturers who’ve been here for seven years before so that made it all the more impressive for us that we jumped directly into Q2 for the first time in dry conditions with Pol. Bradley started with his new crew chief and that in itself isn’t easy to start together at this track but it went well. We don’t see the results quite yet but it will grow. Pol did a great race getting towards the top ten  hugely positive. If you’d said to me at the start of the weekend we’d be eleventh and only thirty seconds from the winner, I would have have signed on the line immediately. He had a spill off the bike after the line with a problem we’ve never seen before but we’ll learn from that. We only have one remaining track this year where we haven’t been testing before  Motegi  so we hope we’ll have a better build up to the weekend at the other five tracks.” 

Moto2

After a thrilling start both Red Bull Ajo KTMs were running well with Miguel Oliveira getting into the top five as the race progressed. Just after the halfway point he hit a false neutral and so ran on at a corner but fought back to eighth at the flag.

Brad Binder started twentieth on the grid but made up seven places on the first lap as his Sunday fight-back-form came to the fore once more and proving his ever-growing speed on the KTM Moto2 bike. The South African hasn’t felt well all weekend but fought hard and was satisfied with an ninth position at the line.

Oliveira“In the end it was a race a little without reward for us, because I had a very good pace and I knew I could have fought for the victory. I didn’t start very well, then I got into the Top 5 and, when I wanted to pass Pasini, I couldn’t engage the gear – it was stuck in neutral and I ran wide. I was able to get back up and pass some other riders, to take some points and cross the finish line in eighth place. We will take away the positives and move on. Now we have to focus and be motivated for the next race.”

Binder“I really need to learn how to set a fast lap in qualifying, because it’s very annoying to have to start from so far back. In the race I know I can be up at the front, I just have to work hard to get a good position on the grid. Looking at the weekend overall, I am happy I gave 100%, even when I didn’t feel quite right; on the last few laps I felt better but I was not completely comfortable. I was able to get into the Top 10, so I’m satisfied with that. There is still a lot of work to be done, but I know that step by step we can be stronger and finish higher up.”

Moto3

A truly classic Moto3 race wowed the crowds over the longest circuit of the series today with nothing between any of the protagonists. Indeed, there were seven different leaders over seventeen laps. The KTM RC250 GPs of Gabriel RodrigoJuanfran GuevaraNiccolo Antonelli and Bo Bendsneyder were all top ten runners but two laps from home there was a coming together between Bendsneyder and Guevara into the Brooklands corner that brought out the red flag to stop the race. On count back to the previous lap it meant the top KTM was Rodrigo in fourth while Bendsneyder’s huge efforts went unrewarded as he wasn’t running when the red flag came out as per the rules stipulate. Antonelli had a superb start to the race to run in fifth to ultimately only finish 4.2 seconds off the win, but out of the points so tight was the race.

Aki Ajo (Team Manager Moto3): “Once again the Moto3 class has treated us to an exciting race, with more than twenty riders in the leading group. However, in the end it wasn’t a good day for us. Bo (Bendsneyder) was close to the leading riders all the time, but he still had a little way to go to get into the top positions. Everything was still open for him on the last laps, until there was the incident with another rider. That’s racing. For Niccolo (Antonelli) it was a difficult race. It’s time to look ahead to the next round at Misano.”

Next Race: September 10, 2017 – Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli (SMR)

Results Race MotoGP Silverstone Circuit 2017
1. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati, 40:45.496 min (20 laps)
2. Maverick Vinales (ESP), Yamaha, +0.114 sec
3. Valentino Rossi (ITA), Yamaha, +0.749
4. Cal Crutchlow (GBR), Honda, +1.679
5. Jorge Lorenzo (ESP), Ducati, +3.508
11. Pol Espargaro (ESP), KTM, +30.336
17. Bradley Smith (GBR), KTM, +48.683

Standings MotoGP 2017 after 12 of 18 races
1. Dovizioso, 188 points
2. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda, 174
3. Viñales, 170
4. Rossi, 157
5. Dani Pedrosa (ESP), Honda, 148
19. Espargaro, 26
22. Smith, 8
24. Mika Kallio (FIN), KTM, 6

Results Race Moto2 Silverstone Circuit 2017
1. Takaaki Nakagami (JAP), Kalex, 38:20.883 min (18 laps)
2. Mattia Pasini (ITA), Kalex, +0.724 sec
3. Franco Morbidelli (ITA), Kalex, +2.678
4. Tom Luethi (SUI), Kalex, +4.645
5. Franceso Bagnaia (ITA), Kalex, +9.515
8. Miguel Oliveira (POR), KTM, +10.463
9. Brad Binder (RSA), KTM, +10.762

Standings Moto2 2017 after 12 of 18 races
1. Morbidelli, 223 points
2. Luethi, 194
3. Alex Marquez (ESP), Kalex, 155
4. Oliveira, 141
5. Bagnaia, 111
14. Binder, 45

Results Race Moto3 Silverstone Circuit 2017
1. Aron Canet (ESP), Honda, 35:53.028 min (16 laps)
2. Enea Bastianini (ITA), Honda, +0.063 sec
3. Jorge Martin (ESP), Honda, +0.111
4. Gabriel Rodrigo (ESP), KTM, +0.232
5. Joan Mir (ESP), Honda, +0.455
KTM
8. Andrea Migno (ITA), KTM, +0.702
9. Philipp Oettl (GER), KTM, +1.200
16. Niccolo Antonelli (ITA), KTM, +4.292
DNF Bo Bendsneyder (NED), KTM, +1 laps