Jack Miller rounded an overcast, hot and windy Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, flanked by a noisy 71,000 crowd to record 8th position with the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing RC16. Teammate Brad Binder had to retire from a sensational 23-lap spectacle around the slick racetrack.
Catalunya represented the second Grand Prix on Spanish asphalt in 2023 and although the flowing and greasy surface of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya hosted MotoGP slightly later than the traditional June date, the temperatures remained high, the fans packed the stands and the world championship kept fast at the 355kmph mark.
Brad Binder and Jack Miller started from 9th and 13th positions on the start grid and with useful data accumulated from the Saturday Sprint where Binder’s solid 4th place finish was the highlight. The South African made the brighter getaway on Sunday afternoon and in breezy conditions as Miller avoided the first turn mess that blighted his Sprint efforts 24 hours earlier. However, Binder was unable to dodge the fallen Francesco Bagnaia out of Turn 2 that caused him to crash. The melee provoked an immediate red flag and a restart for a 23-lap run.
The RC16s were holding 6th and 7th until Brad had to stop due a mechanical glitch after three laps. Miller ploughed ahead and was incredibly close to demoting Fabio Quartararo at the flag. Just 0.059 divided the pair in the fight for 7th.
Binder stays 4th in the championship with a 23-point gap to 3rd. Miller is 9th as the series now shuttles straight to Italy and the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli for the Gran Premio Red Bull di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini next weekend.
Jack Miller, 8th: “We made some massive changes today and it took me a good five-six laps to get used to them and manage these low grip conditions. I have to apologize to the guys because they have been working their butts off to help us and to save the tires. We turned the bike upside down and I got the feeling back. I made a couple of mistakes but then started going quite strong. I didn’t realize it was the last lap because I wanted to manage the tire but it was fun and I could ride the way I wanted. It was cool. Misano is the opposite of here, a lot of grip, so we’ll see what we can do there.”
Brad Binder, DNF: “A crazy afternoon. I had a really good launch but through the exit of Turn 2 I did not see a thing until I arrived to Pecco and his bike in the middle of the track. I clipped something on his bike, went to miss him and couldn’t. I ended up falling. Thank goodness I saw him moving, so I hope he is fine. We restarted the race and I brought last tire we had up to temperature but then we had a technical issue. My only priority today is that I did not seriously hurt anybody. As for the result; it is what it is.”
Francesco Guidotti, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “A dramatic day and the most important thing is that nobody was seriously injured. Brad’s bike was damaged and we had to move to the spare bike that suffered a problem that we still need to analyze. A tough situation and a shame because Brad had a good feeling. We are still growing and improving. He was in a good mood because of his competitiveness, even with the hard tire as we did not have a medium back-up option. Anyway, the general picture is positive and our confidence remains high for Misano. Jack started with a completely new setting. We said ‘we have nothing to lose’ and we went for it and after a few laps he was comfortable and started pushing. He recovered and just missed out on maybe two more positions if he knew it was the last lap! He has his feeling back, which is good.”
Results MotoGP Gran Premi de Catalunya
1. Aleix Espargaro (ESP) Aprilia 38:56.159
2. Maverick Viñales (ESP) Aprilia +0.377
3. Jorge Martin (ESP) Ducati +2.831
8. Jack Miller (AUS) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +10.880
DNF. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
World championship standings MotoGP
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati, 260 points
2. Jorge Martin (ESP) Ducati 210
3. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) Ducati, 189
4. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 166
9. Jack Miller (AUS) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 104
KTM GP Academy
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Deniz Öncü was still elated after his victory from the previous race in Austria and his strong form translated into a decent 2nd position on the start grid after Q2 on Saturday. The Turk was immediately into the vast multi-rider spat for the lead through the 18-lap Moto3 contest on Sunday morning. Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Daniel Holgado was also active and the KTM RC4s were a regular sight at the peak of the pack. Öncü’s teammate, Jose Rueda, was not to be outdone. The impressive and consistent rookie was also in top five contention.
The decisive final laps organized the podium spots and the rest of the top ten. Holgado made a costly mistake into Turn 10 for the last time and crashed. He was able to rejoin the race but reached the flag in 22nd and without any points. Öncü had contact with David Muñoz in Turn 14 and received a retrospective double Long Lap penalty and a six-second deficit which dropped him from 3rd to 12th.
The chaos at least rewarded the excellent Rueda with the final step of the podium and his very first Moto3 trophy. Elsewhere, Filippo Farioli made the Q2 cut on Saturday but crashed out early in Turn 4 after starting from 17th.
Holgado’s misfortune meant his world championship lead of 26 points over Ayumu Sasaki has now shrunk to 13 but the Spaniard is still in control of the class and the KTM GP Academy have three riders in the top eight of the table.
Jose Rueda: “An incredible race. I’m so happy, my first podium of the year and in the world championship. It is an incredible feeling. This is like a home race for me and such a big moment for me.”
In Moto2 Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Albert Arenas carried the extra urgency of performing at his home Grand Prix and the increased energy helped the Catalan to the 5th fastest lap on Saturday with a slender margin of just one second splitting the top seventeen riders. Teammate and championship leader Pedro Acosta was one row behind in 9th for the 21-lap dash. It was Arenas who kept a consistent pace to vie for the podium while Acosta rallied to the front but was lucky not to crash into Turn 1 after contact with Alonso Lopez. Pedro composed himself to ride to 6th and was content to elevate his championship margin to 22 points as Albert delighted his family, friends and fans with 3rd place and ensured that all four Red Bull KTM Ajo riders in both division now have brought silverware to the team’s shelves.
Albert Arenas: “Incredible. First of all, thanks to all the people who have been behind me. The race was great and I enjoyed it a lot. Sometimes I have been missing luck this season but I’m happy with how I managed the race and all the pressure the whole weekend.”
The flat but fast kinks and weaving bend of the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli will welcome MotoGP for round twelve next weekend.
Results Moto3 Gran Premi de Catalunya
1. David Alonso (COL) GASGAS 33:00.945
2. Jaume Masia (ESP) Honda +0.076
3. Jose Rueda (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.234
12. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Ajo +6.291
22. Daniel Holgado (ESP) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +14.757
DNF. Filippo Farioli (ITA) Red Bull KTM Tech3
World championship standings Moto3
1. Daniel Holgado (ESP) Red Bull KTM Tech3, 161 points
2. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) Husqvarna, 148
3. Jaume Masia (ESP) Honda 129
4. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 128
8. Jose Rueda (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 81
26. Filippo Farioli (ITA) Red Bull KTM Tech3, 2
Results Moto2 Gran Premi de Catalunya
1. Jake Dixon (GBR) 36.51.330
2. Aron Canet (ESP) +0.206
3. Albert Arenas (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +1.027
6. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +3.664
World championship standings Moto2
1. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 186 points
2. Tony Arbolino (ITA), 164
3. Jake Dixon (GBR), 142
13. Albert Arenas (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 59