The twentieth and final Grand Prix of the 2022 MotoGP season will get underway at a sunny Circuito Ricardo Tormo tomorrow with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder 7th fastest in qualification for the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana.
Teammate Miguel Oliveira will start his final outing on the KTM RC16 from the 14th position while KTM seizes front-row space in Moto3™ and Moto2™.
- Binder bounces back from FP3 spill to set the 7th best effort in Q2.
- Oliveira topped crucial FP4 and was 14th quickest over one lap around the 4km Spanish venue.
- Tech3 KTM Factory Racing duo Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez clock 20th and 23rd in the last appearance of their debut MotoGP seasons
- 2nd on the grid for Öncü ahead of the final Moto3™ sprint
- World title hopeful Augusto Fernandez qualifies 3rd in Moto2.
- Jose Rueda is the 2022 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Champion
MotoGP arrived in the coastal city of Valencia and the 4km Circuito Ricardo Tormo that traditionally brings the world championship to a close. The flat, twisty ‘bowl’ venue consists of fourteen corners, most tight and narrow, emphasizing the need for decent edge grip, turning and acceleration.
A sunny weather forecast brought consistency through the practice and qualification schedule on Friday and Saturday, even if the riders and teams had to deal with some strong winds on the first day and cooler temperatures on Saturday morning.
Binder ended Free Practice 1 and 2 inside the top ten but then harnessed the benefits of a revised chassis on his RC16 to push to a solid 3rd place in FP3 that ensured his direct Q2 status.
Oliveira was a few tenths of a second away from Q2, topped FP4 with a good race pace but had to rally through Q1; the Portuguese were just a second from cutting and lined up 14th.
Binder clocked a time on his first ‘flying’ attempt in Q2 that elevated him to 4th. The South African attacked the Chrono again in the final seconds but could not perfect a lap, which meant he was half a second from Pole and rested 7th.
Tech3 KTM Factory Racing MotoGP
Tech3 KTM Factory Racing MotoGP pairing Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez were 10th and 13th in Q1, which translated to 20th and 23rd, respectively, on the seventh and eighth rows of the grid. Gardner was able to improve his speed from Friday, while Fernandez had a crash in FP3 but was able to recover confidence through FP4.
MotoGP reverts to its daily itinerary for this season’s last blast of action. Moto3 begins at 11.00 CET, followed by Moto2 at 12.20 and then 27 laps of MotoGP at 14.00.
Brad Binder: “Today was pretty good. I had a little spill in the opening laps of FP3, which was a bit of a setback, but when we put in the two soft tires, I felt perfect, and I could put together some solid lap times. I’m thrilled to have gone straight to Q2, and then FP4 was decent; my last efforts were my fastest.
I’m optimistic for tomorrow and confident with the bike. I wanted a bit more than 7th in qualifying and couldn’t quite put the perfect lap together, but we’re in good shape for tomorrow and let’s try and end the season on a high.”
Miguel Oliveira: “I was disappointed Today. When you do FP4 with some of the best race paces out there and then come up short in Q1, it is always frustrating, but this season has been a bit like that. I’m looking forward to the race and our last one tomorrow.”
Remy Gardner: “We did our fastest weekend lap in qualifying Today. It was not bad, but we are still a bit too far. I want to be able to finish the race tomorrow and be in the points, but the track is difficult and tight, and you can make mistakes easily. We will see what we can do.”
Raul Fernandez: “The crash I had this morning in FP3 was a typical one here in Valencia, to be honest, in turn, 10, and it was not a nasty crash. But when I crashed, I rolled a lot in the gravel and stayed for a few seconds on the floor before getting up.
I felt dizzy afterwards, so I was taken to the medical centre and then to the hospital for a complete check-up. Everything was good, and I returned to the circuit for qualifying 1. We will see how we feel tomorrow about the race, but I want to give my best for my final race with KTM.
I want to thank my team, especially my mechanics, because I destroyed the bike and had a new one ready for my Q1, so thank you! I want to do a good race for them too tomorrow.”
KTM GP Academy
New champion Izan Guevara secured the last Moto3 Pole Position of the season. The Spaniard was only four-hundredths of a second quicker than Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Deniz Öncü; the Turk occupied 2nd place and sat in the front row.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jaume Masia was the 11th fastest but will launch from the pitlane and have to run a Long Lap penalty after a collision with Kaito Toba in FP3. Teammate Daniel Holgado was just 0.6 from Guevara but will have to begin the race from the 15th spot. Adrian Fernandez starts on the 24th.
First on the grid in Moto2 was Alonso Lopez, but the Spaniard was chased by fellow citizens and Red Bull KTM Ajo pairing Pedro Acosta and Augusto Fernandez; less than two-tenths separated the trio after Q2.
Acosta had been on the pace since the first session (and was a remarkable 0.001 away from Lopez when it counted), but Fernandez has also been haunting the peak of the time sheets, and both will open the 25-lap affair from the front row tomorrow. Fernandez defends a 9.5-point lead in the standings from Ai Ogura.
Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup
Luca Lunetta was the winner of the first race – and the penultimate outing – of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup on a sunny but breezy Friday afternoon in Valencia. The Italian triumphed by less than two-tenths of a second and from a close race that saw the top eight split by one second.
On Saturday, Mario Quiles swiped the checkered flag for the third time in 2022, but Spanish hotshot Jose Rueda has been proclaimed champion thanks to his steady 7th-place result. Rueda notched seven podiums throughout the campaign, with three victories helping his cause. The youngster will join Red Bull KTM Ajo in Moto3 for 2023.
Results Qualifying MotoGPGran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana
- 1. Jorge Martin (ESP) Ducati 1:29.621
- 2. Marc Marquez (ESP) Honda +0.205
- 3. Jack Miller (AUS) Ducati +0.213
- 4. Fabio Quartararo (FRA) Yamaha +0.279
- 5. Alex Rins (ESP) Suzuki +0.319
- 7. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +0.418
- 14. Miguel Oliveira (POR) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:30.236
- 20. Remy Gardner (AUS) Tech3 KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:30.804
- 23. Raul Fernandez (ESP) Tech3 KTM Factory Racing (Q1) 1:31.676
Results Qualifying Moto2 Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana
- 1. Alonso Loprez (ESP) 1:34.314
- 2. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.001
- 3. Augusto Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.167
Results Qualifying Moto3 Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana
- 1. Izan Guevara (ESP) GASGAS 1:38.479
- 2. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +0.046
- 3. Sergio Garcia (ESP) GASGAS +0.175
- 4. Diogo Moreira (BRA) KTM +0.218
- 5. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) Husqvarna +0.282
- 11. Jaume Masia (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.537
- 15. Daniel Holgado (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.667
- 26. Adrian Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Tech3 (Q1) 1:39.958