Red Bull KTM Factory Racing emerged from 25-laps of tense and sun-kissed MotoGP action at the Circuit de Jerez - Angel Nieto with three bikes in the points and Miguel Oliveira classifying 11th for the fourth round of the season.
For 35 years the Circuit de Jerez – Angel Nieto has not only been one of the staple Grand Prix venues for motorcycling racing but also a popular and useful layout for testing. The familiarity of the 4.4km layout delivered some close and fascinating action throughout practice and qualification with often hundredths of a second splitting the majority of the grid.
The Gran Premio Red Bull de España began in sunny and warm conditions but in significantly lower temperatures compared to the 40 degree ‘burner’ of 2020. Brad Binder made a reasonable start from 11th on the grid and the fourth row but lost front wheel traction into the second turn of the second lap and crashed. He was able to remount and tried to catch the pack in the effort to salvage some points but another slow speed tumble at Turn 13 ended his day.
Miguel Oliveira had to withstand difficulty with grip and the trickiness of having to cut through from 16th on the grid to front the KTM quartet. The Portuguese was three seconds from the top ten by the end of the distance.
Tech3 KTM Factory Racing began Sunday announcing their new five-year partnership renewal with KTM to ensure four KTM RC16s on the MotoGP grid until 2026. Danilo Petrucci was a constant presence inside the top fifteen for Grand Prix points and crossed the line to secure 2 for 14th. Iker Lecuona, the youngest racer on track, was just behind in his teammate in 15th.
MotoGP stays in Jerez for a one-day IRTA test on Monday and travels next to the historic Le Mans circuit for the Shark Grand Prix de France on May 16th.
Miguel Oliveira: “Tough race for us. I didn’t have the grip or the feeling from one lap. The tires started to overheat, I couldn’t go faster and that blocked my progression. I tried to remain calm and limit the mistakes to bring the bike to the end of the race. When the fuel level dropped I could be a bit more competitive but we are still far from where we want to be. So, we still have some work to do to improve this year’s package.”
Danilo Petrucci: “It was a difficult race but we managed to take some points. We are still trying to find a good setup on the bike. We have to manage to use this tire as we are quite slow at the beginning of the race and able to do a good pace later. For sure, it was hard, because we were already far from the front guys quite early on. Anyway, it was one more race to gain experience. Tomorrow there’s the test here and we can try something new. We are working very hard to improve the bike and to fight closer to the front. I would like to thank all my team for their hard work. We have to continue like this and I’m sure the results will come.”
Iker Lecuona: “Honestly, I’m quite happy. I worked very hard during the race and also the team worked very hard to improve during this weekend and to help me. I’m satisfied, because I finished inside the points and I did a lot to achieve this. I also learned a lot during the race because I lost contact to Danilo and I managed to recover and nearly pass him on the last lap. I think I regained the confidence to go fast.”
Brad Binder: “I felt great in warm-up this morning and then made a good start in the race but unfortunately going into Turn 2 on the second lap it looks like I was a bit too relaxed, got on the brakes at the wrong moment and when I tipped into the corner the front just washed out. It’s a good lesson for the future to ignore where you are in the pack and keep your marks. It’s also disappointing because I had good pace all weekend and I felt good. We could have done a decent job today. Sorry to the team because they worked well all through the GP and they deserved a result.”
Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Race Manager: “We cannot be happy with 11th position because we had some expectation after Brad’s good qualification yesterday and consistency in warm-up. We saw a lot of crashes here and unfortunately Brad had one on the second lap, so his race was more or less over then. It was hard for Miguel to make much time from 16th on the grid and he was in traffic for too long. We have to accept 11th but we can see how high the competition is and now we need to work in the test here tomorrow to find something extra with the bike. It was positive that three of our bikes finished in the points even if it is not our goal just to be part of the pack. The target now has to be better at Le Mans.”
Results MotoGP Gran Premio Red Bull de España 2021
1. Jack Miller (AUS), Ducati 41:05.602
2. Francesco Bagania (ITA), Ducati +1.912
3. Franco Morbidelli (ITA) Yamaha +2.516
4. Takaaki Nakagami (JPN) Honda +3.206
5. Joan Mir (ESP) Suzuki +4.256
11. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +14.766
14. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +20.095
15. Iker Lecuona (ESP), Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +20.277
DNF. Brad Binder (RSA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing