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After wet and dry conditions all weekend, all three riders had something to smile about after the Sachsenring race with pace, data gathered and a great qualifying result from Saturday when Pol Espargaro was 7th, gaining KTM's best grid position to date. The No.44 KTM RC16 fought hard in the race being up to 12th with just a few laps to go to ultimately cross the line in 13th. Encouragingly, the gap in time to the winner of the race equated to a touch over a second a lap in difference after the thirty laps showing progress considering the bikes had never seen the Sachsenring circuit before. Bradley Smith was four seconds back of his team mate while Mika Kallio who was so strong in the morning warm up was just pipped to the last point. Positively the Finn had a fastest race lap time that showed his ultimate pace. Were in not for a loss of front grip at third distance he would have been much higher.
Espargaro: "Honestly it was a great weekend as we did a good job in qualifying but really, the team did a superb job really from the start on Friday. The bike works so well from the beginning, but, for sure we are always able to do a little bit more and ultimately it was a shame that we couldn't beat Petrucci as I was ahead of him for a bit. We must be happy with this weekend as without a tyre problem over the last few laps we are less than 30 seconds off the winner after 30 laps which is very good indeed for the project. We now move on for the test this week at Aragon where we can find some more things with the bike. This is just the beginning..."
Smith: "After a disappointing Assen we've come back to something that we knew, tried and tested with a setting this morning that I felt happier with. In the race I struggled a little bit in the opening ten laps and that's an area where I personally need to work on plus getting the bike to my kind of feeling, but then after that was when I really started to find my form. I'm pleased with the outcome as it was a proper race with eventually the third KTM only a short gap behind the points. In general, a great weekend for us and the whole KTM project as we've learnt an awful lot by having three riders out on track but the great thing is we're going to go to Aragon now for a two day test with all of us there to continue the progress and keep the ball rolling. Overall I'm pleased with the outcome, putting right last week with a solid performance and finish before we head into part two of the season."
Kallio: "I enjoyed being back on the bike this weekend and I enjoyed #racing again. I can say that even though I have been away from the races for a while, with only the Valencia race last November under my belt, it's not so easy to handle the start situation, the first corners with everyone fighting but it went very well. When I saw that I could keep the position and then catch guys at the beginning, I felt really satisfied with the pace that we had. It's a bit of a shame we couldn't finish in the position where we should be as if you see the best lap time I did (12th) it is better than Valentino and better than Pol and better than Bradley. I believe that at least we could be in this higher group where Pol was were it not for the problem with the front end after the half way point of the race. It would have been great to finish there but...next time it's better."
Mike Leitner (Team Manager MotoGP): "The weekend was amazing for the project, for KTM, for all three riders. We always had some highlights through all of the sessions for one of the three riders and in the end in the race, points for Pol after having a full on battle that was very important for him. He nearly got 12th back at the line after being in 12th with a few laps remaining. With Bradley he was fighting with Miller and came 14th. We know this isn't an easy place (MotoGP) but the guys here in the garage and at our HQ in Austria are working so hard behind the scenes. They are pushing all the time and it's so motivating to have this team behind this project 100%. This was the closest result for the lead KTM in terms of time since we started in Qatar as we were just over a second a lap back of the winner. This not only positive but what the riders are looking at because it looks like we can come a little closer. We know we have to work hard but we must always be reminded we are in our rookie season and the long term target is obviously higher than 'just points' so this is a very good sign. Mika was super this weekend as he did a great job. Unfortunately in the race he had an issue with the front tyre but after not #racing for a while he did very well in the group he was in. What we saw from him in the dry warm up was quick stuff. He was always fast proving he is a good test rider for us so...he's still a racer and this is superb to see."
In front of a huge crowd, Miguel Oliveira's KTM Moto2 bike hit the front of the race with a lap and two corners to go but on the last lap he was just beaten to the post but second place equals the best result for the KTM project in only its ninth race. For Oliveira it is the second time he's led a race in two weekends en route to his seventh top five finish from nine starts as well as setting a new lap record – adding to his fastest race lap in Argentina. Team mate Brad Binderbrilliant fought through pain in his left arm to take 7th at the line from a deep 19th on the grid. His aggressive early laps were something to behold.
Oliveira: "Today Franco (Morbidelli) was very strong under braking. I tried to overtake him on the downhill section a couple of times and also during the last lap, but it wasn’t to be. In any case, we are very strong and have already taken many Top 5 finishes this year. I had been wanting to return to the podium for the last two races, and here we have taken another small step forward towards the top positions. The whole weekend has been amazing; I am very happy for the whole team and for myself. Now we will use the holidays to rest and to analyse what we have done so far. It is incredible that we are third in the World Championship; it is something we weren’t expecting and we will try to continue with this positive dynamic to continue to take good results."
Binder: "Today went very well. I came into the race with great confidence after the warmup and I thought today could be a great day. I pushed my hardest and I took advantage of having a good feeling. At first I found it a little hard, because I was a bit far back, but it's great to see that I'm also capable of making good comebacks in #moto2 – even if we have to do better in qualifying. I’m happy because at the end of the race my pace was very good; I just have to work a little on my riding to continue taking steps forward. It's the closest I've finished to the front, so I want to thank my team. The bike was perfect. We will continue to work hard during the break and try to get even stronger."
Red Bull Ajo Motorsport's Bo Bendsneyder took his best finish of the season on the KTM RC250 GP with an eighth place in a race of tyre management and wylie #racing tactics as he battled in a group of fifteen riders tussling over sixth place. It was some payback for his unlucky finish in Holland last weekend when he was knocked off his bike twenty metres before the line. Danny Kent stood in for Niccolo Antonelli this weekend but after good pace in the opening laps had a tumble. He was uninjured.
Aki Ajo (Team Manager Moto3): "Although the race did not begin too well for Bo (Bendsneyder), on the last few laps he was able to solve the issues. Bo has been smart with managing the tyres, something that is very important at this circuit. In addition, he led the group, although in the end he lost two positions on the last lap. As I've been saying at the last few races, he's always in a continuous state of improvement and working in the right direction. This is the way to go. I want to thank Danny (Kent) for his work replacing Niccolo (Antonelli) for this Grand Prix. After returning to #moto2 it has not been an easy weekend for him and unfortunately he started from far back. His pace on the first laps was good, but he crashed out in the end and it's a shame about that."
Red Bull #motogp Rookies Cup
Can Öncü claimed his third win in four Red Bull #motogp Rookies Cup races as he showed complete mastery of the Sachsenring. Chasing him home on their KTM RC250 RBs were Aleix Viu and Kazuki Masaki and while they gave Öncü a hard time for most of the 19 laps they had no answer to the 13-year-old Turk’s pace over the last three.
“I tried to get away from the first laps,” explained Öncü. “I pushed hard but couldn’t get away, they were fast. So I settled down and just looked after my tyres a bit thinking I would try again in the last five laps. That’s what I did, I really pushed at the end but I thought that they might still catch me on the last lap. I think they must have made a mistake or something though because then my father showed me a 1.9 second lead. I thought, ‘I’m an angel’ and I still pushed but then eased off for the last two corners. I’m so happy to win that.”
Next Race: August 6, 2017 – Brno (CZE)
Results Race #motogp Sachsenring 2017
1. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda, 40:59.52 min (30 laps)
2. Jonas Folger (GER), Yamaha, +3.310 sec
3. Dani Pedrosa (ESP), Honda, +11.546
4. Maverick Vinales (ESP), Yamaha, +14.253
5. Valentino Rossi (ITA), Yamaha, +14.980
13. #polespargaro (ESP), KTM, +32.179
14. Bradley Smith (GBR), KTM, +36.453
16. Mika Kallio (FIN), KTM, +37.852
Standings #motogp 2017 after 9 of 18 races
1. Marquez, 129 points
2. Viñales, 124
3. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati, 123
4. Rossi, 119
5. Pedrosa, 103
20. Espargaro, 14
21. Smith, 8
Results Race Moto2 Sachsenring 2017
1. Franco Morbidelli (ITA), Kalex, 41:05.137 min (29 laps)
2. Miguel Oliveira (POR), KTM, +0.066 sec
3. Franceso Bagnaia (ITA), Kalex, +0.547
3. Simone Corsi (ITA), Speed Up, +0.749
5. Mattia Pasini (ITA), Kalex, +1.300
7. Brad Binder (RSA), KTM, +9.204
Standings #moto2 2017 after 9 of 18 races
1. Morbidelli, 173 points
2. Tom Luethi (SUI), Kalex, 136
3. Oliveira, 114
4. Alex Marquez (ESP), Kalex, 113
5. Pasini, 93
17. Binder, 25
Results Race Moto3 Sachsenring 2017
1. Joan Mir (ESP), Honda, 39:34.755 min (27 laps)
2. Romano Fenati (ITA), Honda, +0.121 sec
3. Marcos Ramirez (ESP), KTM, +0.218
4. Nicolo Bulega (ITA), KTM, +5.074
5. Philipp Oettl (GER), KTM, +13.073
8. Bo Bendsneyder (NED), KTM, +14.466
10. Darryn Binder (RSA), KTM, +14.666
DNF Danny Kent (GBR), KTM, +12 laps (replacemet for injured Niccolo Antonelli)
Standings #moto3 2017 after 9 of 18 rounds
1. Mir, 160 points
2. Fenati, 128
3. Aron Canet (ESP), Honda, 110
4. Jorge Martin (ESP), Honda, 89
5. Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA), Honda, 85
7. Ramirez, 79
8. Andrea Migno (ITA), KTM, 78
10. Juanfran Guevara (ESP), KTM, 58
16. Bendsneyder, 25
19. Antonelli, 16
23. Kent, 6
Results Race 2 Red Bull #motogp Rookies Cup Sachsenring 2017
All riders on KTM RC250 RB bikes
1. Can Öncü (TUR), 28:40.767 min (19 laps)
2. Aleix Viu (ESP), +3.328 sec
3. Kazuki Masaki (JAP), +6.349
4. Omar Bonoli (COL), +20.132
5. Ryusei Yamanaka (JAP), +20.644
Standings Red Bull #motogp Rookies Cup 2017 after 6 of 13 races
1. C. Öncü, 107 points
2. Viu, 93
3. Masaki, 85
4. Bonoli, 50
5. Deniz Öncü (TUR), 48
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