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Formerly known as the Österreichring, the Red Bull Ring has been a unique and anticipated venue for #motogp since 2016 and when the FIM World Championship returned to #austria for the first time since 1997. 4.3km in length, Red Bull Ring sees riders hitting an average speed of 183kmph and clocking almost 320kmph through the radar while spending around 33% of the lap on the brakes to cope with the sharp kinks, ten of which line the layout. Almost 93,000 visitors lined the green slopes on race day in 2018.
For the first time on home turf KTM will count on four RC16s among the #motogp grid, and the full scope of the factory’s ‘ladder’ through road #racing will be evident again with the fifth round of seven of the Red Bull #motogp Rookies Cup kicking off proceedings with the very first race of the weekend at 17.15 on Saturday.
In the premier class KTM have enjoyed another campaign of milestones and since ending only their second term in #motogp with a maiden podium result at Valencia last November. Pol Espargaro – third that day at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit – has qualified on the second row of the grid on two occasions (Circuit of the Americas and Automotodrom Brno), achieved a best race classification of 6th at Le Mans and registered five top ten results (as well as points in every round). Teammate Johann Zarco has spent the season trying to adapt his style and mould the idiosyncrasies of the RC16 to his liking but is making progress – as evidenced by his mastery of damp conditions to clock Red Bull KTM’s first front row qualification slot with 3rd at Automotodrom Brno last weekend. The Frenchman has accumulated points in all but two Grands Prix.
The alignment with Red Bull KTM Tech3 in 2019 has been a fundamental part of the firm’s progression at the peak of the sport. The laps and effort totalled by Miguel Oliveira (the Portuguese rookie impressing with his pace and dedication) and Hafizh Syahrin has added valuable data and understanding of the finer margins in #motogp: a competition regularly split by hundredths of a second. Oliveira has pointed in six of the first ten fixtures of the year.
When it comes the other categories, Aron Canet leads the ever-unpredictable Moto3 contest on his RC4 while Red Bull KTM Ajo will again field the exciting and evolving talent of the Öncü twins. In Moto2 the same prolific team will give the new version of the RC12 its second run out in 2019 around the Austrian curves and in the capable hands of former Moto3 World Champions Brad Binder and Jorge Martin.
The action starts at 9am on Friday with the first Moto3 Free Practice and with the races themselves scheduled for 10.00 (MotoE), 11.00 (Moto3), 12.20 (Moto2) and 14.00 (MotoGP).
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsport Director: “Our home Grand Prix is something we really look forward to every year. Of course it comes with expectancy and enthusiasm but it is one of the best chances to show – and to reward – all the KTM people that have worked for this project that spreads through all the factory. We like to think that we’ve given Austrian fans something to be proud of and seeing that big grandstand full of orange is special. We have pushed hard to establish a structure that we hope will produce some very good results and positive benefits for KTM in road #racing and will soon near the success we’ve had in so many other areas of our #racing programme. Red Bull Ring is a great place when it is full and you can hear and see those bikes at top speed. We hope everyone has a great time.”
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