The Gran Premio D’Italia Oakley delivered KTM’s first silverware of the 2021 MotoGP season as Red Bull KTM’s Miguel Oliveira raced to 2nd place at Mugello with his KTM RC16. Teammate Brad Binder equaled his best classification of the year so far in 5th place.
Sunshine and 23-degree temperatures graced the return of MotoGP to the thrilling racetrack in the Tuscan hills north of Florence. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira started the 23-lap encounter from the second and third rows of the start grid and after the South African had guided the KTM RC16 to equal the highest ever MotoGP top speed on Saturday by clocking 362.4 kmph through the speed traps.
Oliveira made a fantastic start and slotted into the running for the rostrum from the first corner. He moved past Johann Zarco to take 2nd spot and then defended his ranking after Joan Mir applied heavy pressure in the last two laps. The podium ceremony was Oliveira’s third in less than three seasons in MotoGP.
Binder also made a lively launch but lost a couple of positions to hover in the lower top ten as he worked his tires and confidence up to effective race pace. The South African, making his first MotoGP run at Mugello, fought back to 5th and was less than 5 seconds from winner Fabio Quartararo at the flag.
Tech3 KTM Factory Racing riders Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona had to make up time from outside the top 15 at the start of the race. Petrucci, a former winner and podium finisher at Mugello, pushed to 9th to record his second top ten result in a row. Lecuona tussled to 11th for more championship points.
The Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya will bring the championship together for the seventh fixture of the year next weekend.
Miguel Oliveira: “It was a good race and a strong weekend. We saw we had one of the best race paces out there. I was not strong enough to push at the beginning with the tires but then I got in my rhythm, I managed to get to 2nd and then could keep Joan Mir behind me, which was not easy. I would have liked to have made this podium in different circumstances. We can be happy but not completely, and our thoughts are with Jason’s family right now.”
Brad Binder: “I’m happy with 5th today, even if I did want more but I had a crazy race. I almost tucked the front on the Sighting Lap, so I was trying to work out the conditions and why I felt different. I didn’t have a perfect start and then I was cautious on the first three laps. Marc [Marquez] rode into me and my airbag fired which meant I couldn’t move for almost a lap! After that I could finally get into a rhythm and chase the group in front of me although I didn’t quite have the pace to get through it. Anyway, I’m pleased with another top five and we’ll try to keep this momentum for the next races.”
Danilo Petrucci: “First of all, it was a really difficult race today: not on the sporting side but on the human one. It was quite a long race but we have been fighting a lot. I just found a good rhythm at the end and I could make a good pace and also overtake some other guys. We started so far back on the grid, so the first laps were really difficult to manage with a lot of riders. Apart from that, I lose quite a lot of time on the straight with my size. The other riders always pass me there but I think we found something interesting on the bike. Miguel and Brad made a big step and we have to do the same.”
Iker Lecuona: “I’m quite happy about today because finally I could fight for the top 10. I could improve my feeling with the bike. I was fighting a lot with Danilo, my teammate. On the last laps he was quicker than me and I couldn’t follow. But I had a great fight with Valentino. Finally, I lost out on the top 10 by just 0.006 seconds to him. I think I learned a lot overall during this weekend. I just want to say thanks to my team, because they push me a lot and believe in me. I want to dedicate this race to Jason, his family and friends.”
Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Race Manager: “A good result for the complete MotoGP KTM line-up here with three bikes in the top nine and all four in the top eleven. Miguel’s podium was outstanding but also Brad’s performance in 5th. We knew it would be a long, hard race and you had to stay focused on this track. They both find the right mix between attacking and defense. Credit also to the Tech3 boys for coming back like they did. We are satisfied with the race performances of course but it has also been a sad and difficult weekend. I hope we can keep racing competitively and in a safe way.”
Results MotoGP Gran Premio D’Italia Oakley 2021
1. Fabio Quartararo (FRA) Yamaha 41:16.344
2. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +2.592
3. Joan Mir (ESP), Suzuki +3.000
4. Johann Zarco (FRA), Ducati +3.535
5. Brad Binder (RSA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +4.903
9. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +23.296
11. Iker Lecuona (ESP), Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +25.152