Red Bull KTM Factory Racing scorched the asphalt at the Circuit of the Americas as Brad Binder dashed to 5th in Texas on Saturday.
The third MotoGP Sprint of the season whet the appetite for the Grand Prix on Sunday, and while Binder was top five, Jack Miller captured 9th. Both riders started from decent grid positions of 10th and 11th after morning qualification.
- 5th place in the Sprint for Brad Binder, who launched from the fourth row
- Jack Miller again shows his ability for the Texan track with a good start and a top-ten result
- Both Red Bull KTM RC16s make direct Q2 qualification for the first time this season
- Daniel Holgado is to start from 5th on the Moto3™ grid as Pedro Acosta earns 2nd in Moto2™ Q
Warm and humid conditions opened the second day of the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas and the tenth visit by the world championship to the sprawling and challenging track south of Austin.
Decent work on Friday in Practice 1 and 2 sessions meant Brad Binder and Jack Miller found times in the top ten standings and achieved direct Q2 entry for Saturday.
This helped provide a platform to increase the competitiveness of the RC16 set-up, conserve tire allocation and guarantee slots on the first rows of the grid.
During the decisive Q2 session, Miller was hunting the fringes of the top five until small slips at the low-speed Turn 1 and 14 on two separate occasions foiled his attempt to be further forward. He rested in 10th and was just two-tenths of a second ahead of Binder in 11th. The track’s grip level had lowered after some overnight rain, and the conditions for the 10-lap Tissot Sprint were tricky to judge.
Despite a hair-raising first lap with a few ‘moments’, Binder diligently applied his pace and racecraft to the affair and worked his way up to a decent 5th position. Only a few places and seconds behind was Miller, in 9th. The team plans to use the Sprint data to analyze and reset for optimum performance in the 20-lap Grand Prix tomorrow, which begins after the Moto3 and Moto2 races and is set for 21.00 CET.
Brad Binder, 11th in qualification, 5th in the Sprint: “Today was difficult. The conditions differed from what we had this weekend, and the grip level changed significantly. The first lap was sketchy, and I struggled to roll around the corners. I lost a lot of time because of that, but I could move forward once I had my bearings. It was a hard race today, but hats off to the team and my guys because we have made a big step from last year where we would have dreamed of being 5th. We need that last step for tomorrow, and I think it will be a different story with that full race distance…but it should work in our favour.”
Jack Miller, 10th in qualification, 9th in the Sprint: “It was a struggle during the first three-quarters of the race. I was searching for drive out of the corners. I was getting a lot of spins, and the track had changed overnight with the rain, throwing the bike balance. We stepped in the right direction but need to find more for tomorrow. We had to play a patient game with the front tire as the temperature rocketed. We have a great package, but we must dial it in and get it near perfect because we almost had it yesterday.”
Francesco Guidotti, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team Manager: “The different conditions on track this morning meant we struggled for a while. In the Sprint, though, we enjoyed our average good starts. Brad built a good race pace and finished 5th, although there were issues with the rear grip. A top five was acceptable for us in the circumstances, mainly because he ran wide a couple of times: the lack of rear grip affected him in the hard braking zones.
Anyway, he found a good pace again and kept his position. In general, it was a good race. Jack had two minor crashes this morning but finished the Sprint to get one point. We will try to fix everything for tomorrow’s race, although it might be different again because the temperatures are set to drop. We will have ten minutes in the warm-up to try and get everything sorted.”
Results Qualifying MotoGP Bull Grand Prix of the Americas
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati 2:01.892
2. Alex Rins (ESP) Honda +0.160
3. Luca Marini (ITA) Ducati +0.289
10. Jack Miller (AUS) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +1.192
11. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +1.215
Results MotoGP Sprint Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati 20:35.270
2. Alex Rins (ESP) Honda +2.545
3. Jorge Martin (ESP) Ducati +4.706
5. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +8.175
9. Jack Miller (AUS) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +12.448