Three Red Bull KTM RC16s finished in the top nine of the second round of MotoGP to take place at MotorLand Aragón. Pol Espargaro reached 4th, representing a significant improvement of speed and positions compared to the first Grand Prix at the venue the previous weekend.
MotoGP completed the latest triple header on the 2020 schedule with a consecutive outing around the undulations and varied corners of the MotorLand Aragón layout. Warmer temperatures greeted the Gran Premio Liqui Moly de Teruel – named after the province – and sunny skies helped riders and teams decipher the best tire choices for the eleventh fixture of the season in the premier class.
Red Bull KTM saw three riders launch from the first four rows of the grid for the 23-lap MotoGP race. Brad Binder’s afternoon was over quickly after a collision with Jack Miller sent both riders tumbling into the gravel. Pol Espargaro and Miguel Oliveira circulated together during the formative stages with Iker Lecuona also close. Espargaro and Oliveira were able to make inroads to the top ten and reached 7th/8th by the halfway stage. Espargaro kept pressing on and arrived to a decent 4th. Oliveira made progress and just lost out on 5th place by four-hundredths of a second after a drag-race to the line. Lecuona was 9th and equaled his best MotoGP classification (the other scored at the Austrian Grand Prix).
Pol Espargaro: “Much happier than last week, a super-different race. The position was better from the grid and the beginning of the race - even if we can still improve this – and the pace was nice. I still didn’t have ideal rear edge grip but I could change direction with confidence and gain where the bike was good. I could overtake and I really enjoyed the race: when that happens the result comes. 4th feels good and I believe it was well-deserved for all the work we did as a team this weekend.”
Miguel Oliveira: “I’m happy. I felt I could have been a bit more in front, at least in fifth place, but it was quite hard for me to overtake. I felt strong, competitive and I think it was a great comeback from last weekend. It was a consistent and very good weekend for us with eighth place on the grid and sixth place in the race, so I think we did our job. We need to take this as a positive and carry it on to the last three races in November.”
Iker Lecuona: “Obviously I’m very happy about today. In the first laps of the race I was fighting a lot with many riders and I also made some mistakes, so I lost contact to the big group ahead of me. But lap by lap, I tried to recover and tenth by tenth I finally caught them again. I felt really strong and I have the feeling that I could have even finished further in front. Eventually I was ninth again, which equals my best result, so it’s a decent one.”
Brad Binder: “I had quite an ‘OK’ start and as I went up the inside of Turn1 I then changed direction like a regular lap and got bunched up. It was a big mistake on my behalf and I’m so sorry to wipe out Jack’s race. I want to apologize not only to my team but also to his. We’ll have to restart and go again in Valencia.”
Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Race Manager: “After a tough weekend last week we had quite a big plan to change our bike strategy for this race. On Friday all four riders were trying things and that gave us quite a good base for the second race weekend, so thanks to the teams for all their work. Three KTMs in the top ten is a good result. Pol, Miguel and Iker made a great race pace and were able to fight for positions, which was nice to see. We’ll head to Valencia and try to make another good event.”
Moto2 & Moto3
Moto3 saw a huge group of riders in the running for podium positions. No racer could breakaway or show an advantage with Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Raul Fernandez, his teammate Kaito Toba, Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Ayumu Sasaki, Darryn Binder and Albert Arenas all in the midst with their KTM RC4s. By the checkered flag it was Sasaki who managed to seize 2nd place from Toba by a tenth of a second. The two Japanese delivered their first top three results to their respective teams as championship leader Arenas classified 4th.
Kaito Toba: “It was a tough race today with many riders changing positions but to come back to the podium with KTM feels very good. I’ll try to keep working like this. I’m very happy.”
Ayumu Sasaki: “The start of this season was not easy, I had some bad luck as well but I started to understand what I need to improve. I knew that I will be strong in this race, I was focusing on the last laps. I’m really happy, although you always want a bit more and we were so close to win.”
Jorge Martin took his Red Bull KTM Ajo machine to 6th in Moto2 while teammate Tetsuta Nagashima rode to 14th after a close battle with four other riders.
In the eighth race of the 2020 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup David Alonso took victory on his KTM RC 250 R while series leader Pedro Acosta finished 10th after running off the track in the midst of a scrap for top positions.
The Gran Premio de Europa will bring MotoGP together again for the last rush of dates this season. The event will be the first of two in a row at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, Spain on November 8th and November 15th.
Results MotoGP Gran Premio Liqui Moly de Teruel 2020
1. Franco Morbidelli (ITA), Yamaha 41:47.652
2. Alex Rins (ESP), Suzuki +2.205
3. Joan Mir (ESP), Suzuki +5.376
4. Pol Espargaro (ESP), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +10.299
5. Johann Zarco (FRA) Ducati +12.915
6. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +12.953
9. Iker Lecuona (ESP), Red Bull KTM Tech3 +17.177
DNF. Brad Binder (RSA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Results Moto2 Gran Premio Liqui Moly de Teruel 2020
1. Sam Lowes (GBR) 39:27.645
2. Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA) +8.425
3. Enea Bastianini (ITA) +10.871
6. Jorge Martin (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +14.766
14. Tetsuta Nagashima (JPN) Red Bull KTM Ajo +26.685
Results Moto3 Gran Premio Liqui Moly de Teruel 2020
1. Jaume Masia (ESP) Honda 37:44.602
2. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +0.051
3. Kaito Toba (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.152