Red Bull KTM Factory Racing depart the Grande Premio TISSOT de Portugal with well-earned top seven positions for Brad Binder and Jack Miller respectively as MotoGP scorched into life under glaring Algarve sunshine and watched by a large noisy crowd at the International Circuit. In the other classes KTM machinery celebrated victory in both Moto3™ and Moto2™.
The Portuguese Grand Prix got down to business once more with the full-length 25 lap distance on Sunday. The Red Bull KTM racers started from 5th and 15th positions on the grid.
Jack Miller is still new to the team and had logged less than eight full days on his race-bike before lining up for the second time for round one. The Australian extended his education in finding the precious tenths on the ragged edge by competing for the top five and then taking part in a five-rider slugfest for 4th. One of those rivals was Brad Binder. The South African somehow ignored neck and shoulder pain to enter his most exciting phase of the weekend. Less than one second covered the quintet at the flag and Brad was just ahead of Jack in 6th. The duo swap positions in the early championship rankings however: Miller is 5th and Binder 8th.
The team quickly disassembled the RC16s post-race for the freight and the long trip across the Atlantic to Argentina, in time for round two next weekend.
Brad Binder, 6th: “Today was pretty good. It has been a hard weekend because it was very tough for me to get comfortable on the bike. I was suffering a lot but today my team made a big step forward with my RC16 and I was much more confident in the end. The last five laps were really demanding physically but the step forwards we made was very satisfying and I’m hoping for more in Argentina. I just need to figure out how to be 100% fit there.”
Jack Miller, 7th: “I was pushing a lot towards the end and into unknown territory with the tires. The bike was really stable but I made a small mistake with my gearing and it was hectic there. I was trying everything I could to make the pass and get it done but it was impossible. We learnt a lot about our strengths and weaknesses today. The tire conservation was really good as was the feedback I was getting from the bike through the duration. I’m happy with where we are and I know we can work to be stronger. We are having fun building this project.”
Francesco Guidotti, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “We had a very busy winter test and made a lot more work than we expected. We had some issues and some curiosity to go deeper and deeper with the technical package and we waited until the last moment to put everything together. The riders were only able to push at the first race and, honestly, it was a little bit late but it was not a big problem. Jack has a lot of experience and as soon as he feels good then he is ready to push and since Friday he was on the charge! Today he did great, to match what he did on Friday and Saturday. He still needs to understand the full possibilities of the bike’s behavior but he is ready to go. Brad was struggling with his neck but the bike setup was much more in the direction he wanted. He had a super-good race. Yesterday his distance to the winner was eight seconds and today it was the same but at double the laps, so this was significant. A massive improvement. Let’s go to Argentina. A blank page again, and we’ll see.”
Results MotoGP Grande Premio TISSOT de Portugal
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati 41:25.401
2. Maverick Viñales (ESP) Aprilia +0.687
3. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) Ducati +2.726
6. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +8.247
7. Jack Miller (AUS) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +8.381
World championship standings MotoGP
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati, 37 points
2. Maverick Viñales (ESP) Aprilia, 25
3. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) Ducati, 16
5. Jack Miller (AUS) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 15
8. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 10
KTM GP Academy
KTM RC4s covered most of the first two rows of the Moto3 grid as the first Grand Prix of the season ignited the Portuguese Grand Prix Sunday morning. A large batch of riders contested the first podium positions of the year and Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Daniel Holgado started his second year in the class with KTM - and his first in the French squad - in the perfect fashion. Holgado’s last lap was immense to head five pursuers split by just two tenths of a second at the line. Holgado previously had one podium and one Pole Position in Moto3 and this was a new milestone.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jose Rueda had a fantastic Moto3 debut in 4th and was three hundredths of a second from the podium. Teammate Deniz Öncü had race-winning speed but had to start from pitlane after stalling his bike on the grid prior to the Sighting Lap. The Turk blitzed through most of the field and reached a very creditable 10th. Filippo Farioli’s debut for Red Bull KTM Tech3 lasted only a few laps. The Italian fell and then was then forced to retire from the race.
Moto2 was the scene for another exciting display by Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Pedro Acosta. The Spaniard was Rookie of the Year in the category during 2022 as he ran to three victories in his first attempt at the intermediate division. Acosta made good on his rapid pre-season form as he slotted into the posse pushing for silverware and dueled with Aron Canet. With a lap just half a second from the circuit record on the penultimate circulation, he made the break and took a convincing win. New teammate Albert Arenas banked 8th by the flag.
Sunday morning’s Grand Prix program opened with the second Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup race of the weekend and of the season. After pocketing the first checkered flag on Saturday, Angel Piqueras was in the thrust of the battle for the win through the 14-lap dash and amazingly won again by just 2 thousandths of a second from Marcos Ruda. The series, run on identical kitted KTM 250cc four-stroke RC 250 Rs machinery, convenes again for round two of eight at the end of April in Jerez for the Gran Premio de España
Daniel Holgado, Red Bull KTM Tech3 Moto3, 1st: “An amazing race today. We did a good job this weekend with the team, the bike and the setting. I’m really happy with my first victory. My potential is back!”
Pedro Acosta, Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2, 1st: “We’ll take this! Yesterday in qualifying we struggled but we have worked so hard all winter to be this competitive and to arrive here in this shape. This is the result. Thanks to everyone and the whole team.”
Results Moto3 Grande Premio TISSOT de Portugal
1. Daniel Holgado (ESP) Red Bull KTM Tech3 34:27.061
2. David Muñoz (ESP) KTM +0.160
3. Diogo Moreira (BRA) KTM +0.175
4. Jose Rueda (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.206
10. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Ajo +1.409
DNF. Filippo Farioli (ITA) Red Bull KTM Tech3
World championship standings Moto3
1. Daniel Holgado (ESP) Red Bull KTM Tech3, 25 points
2. David Muñoz (ESP) KTM, 20
3. Diogo Moreira (BRA) KTM, 16
4. Jose Rueda (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 13
10. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 6
NC. Filippo Farioli (ITA) Red Bull KTM Tech3, 0
Results Moto2 Grande Premio TISSOT de Portugal
1. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo 36:04.193
2. Aron Canet (ESP) +1.358
3. Tony Arbolino (ITA) +4.460
8. Albert Arenas (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +12.270
World championship standings Moto2
1. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 25 points
2. Aron Canet (ESP), 20
3. Tony Arbolino (ITA), 16
8. Albert Arenas (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 8