Round four of 2023 MotoGP saw the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team shift their Grand Prix project into another gear. Brad Binder and Jack Miller finished 2nd and 3rd on Sunday for another podium ‘brace’ and after claiming a second Sprint victory of the season on Saturday.
Cooler temperatures and cloudier skies greeted the hoards of fans that poured into the Circuit de Jerez – Angel Nieto for the Gran Premio MotoGP™ Guru by Gryfyn de España. After a stellar Saturday, the Red Bull KTM trio lined-up for the full 25-lap Grand Prix race distance hopeful of more high competitiveness and podium contention. Starting from the same qualifying positions of 2nd (Miller), 4th (Binder) and 6th (Pedrosa) the KTM RC16s were prominently placed into the first corner. The race was forced into a restart after a collision in Turn 2 but the RC16s were again 1-2 from the ‘off’ and for the 24-lap chase.
Both riders swapped positions and track space but Binder was the main pace setter as Miller had his hands full with Francesco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin. Bagnaia was in strong form and took the lead with four laps to go. Binder attacked hard and set his fastest lap on the final circulation. The margin was a narrow 0.2 of a second at the flag. Miller fended off Martin to come home in 3rd.
Binder has surged up to 3rd in the world championship standings, with his 12 point haul from Saturday – the second of the year so far – helping towards the total. Miller is 4th and just 13 points behind. KTM are 2nd in the Constructors table and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing hold the same slot in the Teams’ competition.
The Gran Premio MotoGP™ Guru by Gryfyn de España will be bookended by the first one-day official test of the season. The team will be busy again on Monday at Jerez with a view towards potential upgrades and more homologation ahead of the SHARK Grand Prix de France at Le Mans on May 13th-14th.
Brad Binder, 2nd: “Today was fantastic. So happy to get a solid podium and to be out front leading the race. I kept seeing that I had a little gap, so I thought I had done the job and had to look after my rear tire…but I think I cooked it a bit with three-four laps to go. It is what it is, but I managed my best lap of the race right at the end trying to get Pecco: hats off to him. Thanks to my team and to everyone for their support. We’ll try again next week.”
Jack Miller, 3rd: “I had to work for that one today! I had a great start and, like most of the boys, I was struggling with the right side of the tire by mid-race. I don’t quite know how but we started putting in some really fast laps at the end and I just couldn’t quite close up to two in front. Brad rode awesome, so did Pecco, there was some fun racing going on and I’m stoked to be a part of it and put Red Bull KTM up here again. It's an amazing feeling and I hope we are here to stay.”
Dani Pedrosa, 7th: “I can keep two things from this weekend. One is the technical side and all the things I can tell the test team and we can keep in mind for the next stage our of work. There is also the amazing results by the guys! The second thing is how the people were with me: it was unbelievable, and I was overwhelmed! I just tried to give my best and I hope the fans liked it. I think we are getting stronger as a project and the bike is improving step-by-step.”
Francesco Guidotti, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “What a weekend. We started the Grand Prix in the good way with Dani and then the Quali went perfect, we won the Sprint race and today was amazing. We did something special: both riders fighting for victory, leading most of the way and taking two spots on the podium. Personally, I want to thank every single person involved in this project. We are all super-committed but we are also under pressure because there is such a short time to show our potential each GP. Time goes so fast so I’m glad we are starting to show something important. We had red flags and even rain at one stage so it was an intense weekend here. The technicians, designers, mechanics, riders, the test team; thanks everyone for these incredible results. We are looking forward and we are confident.”
Results MotoGP Gran Premio MotoGP™ Guru by Gryfyn de España
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati 39:29.085
2. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +0.221
3. Jack Miller (AUS) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +1.119
World championship standings MotoGP
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati, 87 points
2. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) Ducati, 65
3. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 62
4. Jack Miller (AUS) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 49
KTM GP Academy
Moto3 opened the Grand Prix with 19 frenetic laps of pace. Six riders formed the leading group around the 4.4km layout and with Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Daniel Holgado and Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jose Rueda part of the fray. A KTM RC4 has won the Moto3 contest four times in the last eight years and for the second race in succession Ivan Ortola was the man who triumphed; taking his KTM across the line a slender 0.034 of a second from David Alonso. Rueda’s 5th position was just half a second from P1 but represented a career-best so far for the rookie. Holgado was 6th, only a tenth behind his countryman but defends a 4 point lead at the top of the championship standings. Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Deniz Öncü was in the mix after blasting away from Pole Position for the fifth time in his career but his position at the peak of the second group was compromised by a Long Lap penalty for exceeding track limits and he classified 9th. Rookie Filippo Farioli rode to 14th for Red Bull KTM Tech3 and bagged his first world championship points.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Pedro Acosta started from the front row of the Moto2 grid and was hunting his first Jerez victory in the class. The Spaniard rallied hard in front of a passionate home crowd but could little about the form of Sam Lowes ahead of him. Pedro’s comfortable runner-up ranking meant his third podium appearance of the season and pushes him up to the position of P1 in the championship standings. Teammate Albert Arenas rode to 9th after the 21 laps.
Pedro Acosta: “Sam was pushing like hell from the beginning and it was tough to follow him. Anyway, we had a good pace here in Spain, we are back on the podium and we had a decent gap from the rider behind us. I can only thank this amazing team who worked so hard for this. I have to be happy!”
The 200th race for the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup took place Sunday morning and was claimed in thrilling fashion by Spaniard Max Quiles by seven hundredths of a second. In fact, just one second split the top five riders. Angel Piqueras, winner of the three previous outings, classified 2nd and continues to lead the championship standings.
Results Moto3 Gran Premio MotoGP™ Guru by Gryfyn de España
1. Ivan Ortola (ESP) KTM 33:57.506
2. David Alonso (COL), GASGAS +0.034
3. Jaume Masia (ESP) Honda +0.215
5. Jose Rueda (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.549
6. Daniel Holgado (ESP) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +0.640
9. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Ajo +3.862
14. Filippo Farioli (ITA) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +11.335
World championship standings Moto3
1. Daniel Holgado (ESP) Red Bull KTM Tech3, 59 points
2. Diogo Moreira (BRA) KTM, 55
3. Ivan Ortola (ESP) KTM, 50
8. Jose Rueda (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 30
10. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 23
24. Filippo Farioli (ITA) Red Bull KTM Tech3, 2
Results Moto2 Gran Premio MotoGP™ Guru by Gryfyn de España
1. Sam Lowes (GBR) 35:45.107
2. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +2.841
3. Alonso Lopez (ESP) +9.618
8. Albert Arenas (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +14.948
World championship standings Moto2
1. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 74
2. Tony Arbolino (ITA), 74
3. Aron Canet (ESP), 52
9. Albert Arenas (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 27