Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s three-pronged attack on the Gran Premio Red Bull di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini resulted in Dani Pedrosa playing another starring role as he steered the KTM RC16 to the top four after 27 hot and hectic laps at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. Brad Binder recovered from an early crash to finish 14th but Jack Miller did not make it to the flag. Red Bull KTM Ajo toasted another Pedro Acosta Moto2™ win.
The shallow grassy banks of the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli filled with 79,000 spectators on Sunday for the twelfth round of MotoGP and the second Grand Prix weekend rush in a row. Red Bull KTM watched Dani Pedrosa join the action with the latest race-spec version of the KTM RC16 and improve on his performance from his previous wildcard appearance in Jerez (6th in the Sprint, 7th in the race) by running at the top of the time sheets on Friday and sealing 4th position on Saturday.
Sunday’s 27-lap main event was held in sunny conditions and near 30-degree temperatures as decent summer weather continued to bathe Misano on Italy’s northeast coast. Pedrosa, Brad Binder and Jack Miller began the race from 5th, 7th and 18th respectively on the grid and both Pedrosa and Binder were quickly into the top five around the grippy, 16-corner layout. Miller concentrated on making progress from the sixth row.
Binder was charging hard in 4th and narrowing the gap to the three-rider fight for the podium when he lost traction and crashed in Turn 14 during the early stages. He was able to remount and reach the flag in 14th for two points. A lap later Miller was hit out at Turn 4.
Pedrosa was in the top five from the off. With the slip by Brad, Dani was able to gain ground to the leaders. He launched a sustained bid to snatch a first rostrum result in six years and for the seventh time at Misano. He came close to passing world champion Francesco Bagnaia and the gap was only half a second at the finish line.
The world championship standings hold Brad Binder in 4th with 173 points and needing 45 more to breach the top three. Miller is 10th and Pedrosa has accrued enough to sit 18th in the table of 29 riders. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing is the 5th best team currently and KTM are 2nd in the Constructors’ listing.
The first ever Indian Grand Prix, taking place at the Buddh International Circuit, will occur on September 23rd-24th.
Dani Pedrosa, 4th: “I had a few problems in the first laps because the rear tire wasn’t heating up quick enough for me, especially on the left side and I had a few scares. I had to be patient and started to build the rhythm after three-four laps. After Brad crashed I saw the group ahead was not getting away from me, so I thought ‘let’s give everything and try to catch them’. When I was very close I had another ‘moment’ and nearly went flying. The gap grew and shrunk until Pecco was struggling on the last laps. I had another go because the bike was working really well. Overall, close to the podium again but I want to thank the team for all their work. I’m happy. It was great to be here and to have the opportunity to go for the podium. I don’t think I’ve been quite so pleased with a 4th place! Our work yesterday and today has helped us to learn a lot and to continue improving.”
Brad Binder, 14th: “To be honest in both races we have been fast. Yesterday I had an issue at the start and was able to catch-up, which was really good. Then today I improved and was feeling great but it looks like I had a little bit more [lean] angle in Turn 14 and it was enough to lose the front. After that it was a very long 20 laps with some of the aero gone. There are positives to take from today but sorry to the guys in my team for losing a good opportunity.”
Jack Miller, DNF: “I got a semi-decent start and was doing my best to stick with the group in front. I felt like my pace was getting better and better as the race went on but then I was sucker-punched. I couldn’t do too much about it. The test tomorrow should be an important day for us and has come at a good time. I will be happy to spend more time on the bike to understand some things and get some confidence back.”
Francesco Guidotti, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “Two crashes was a little bit too much for us today. Jack was involved in a multi-rider crash and he didn’t deserve it but that can happen. We need to work to help him and that will be the plan tomorrow. Brad was on a mission and had a better start compared to yesterday. He was trying to manage the situation and suddenly went down. Even without the side pod his pace to come back was pretty good and he could salvage some points. We didn’t have much luck. We are confident, and we know our potential and it wasn’t what we showed today. We won’t give up and seeing Dani in this shape gives us a boost for the future with the new parts. We have a high level of curiosity for what our factory riders will say tomorrow.”
Results MotoGP Gran Premio Red Bull di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini
1. Jorge Martin (ESP) Ducati 41:33.421
2. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) Ducati +1.350
3. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati +3.812
4. Dani Pedrosa (ESP) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +4.481
14. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +23.778
DNF. Jack Miller (AUS) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
World championship standings MotoGP
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati, 283 points
2. Jorge Martin (ESP) Ducati 247
3. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) Ducati, 218
4. Brad Binder (RSA) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 173
10. Jack Miller (AUS) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, 104
KTM GP Academy
The Moto3 San Marino Grand Prix was played out across 20 close-run laps where the breakaway group for the top three consisted of four hungry runners. Well positioned in the fray was Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Deniz Öncü who led on the final circulation but was pipped to the flag in a fantastically close decider. The Turk classified 3rd by just two tenths of a second. The result delivered his fifth rostrum this season and he has closed to within 17 points of the top of the series.
Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Daniel Holgado had a tricky day and crossed the line in 16th, meaning he still leads the Moto3 championship but only by 4 points. Jose Rueda bagged more ‘numbers’ with a solid 9th position and is 8th in the standings. Rookie Filippo Farioli was 21st after enduring a Long Lap penalty for exceeding track limits with three laps to go.
Deniz Öncü: “My race pace was strong and I was really pushing a lot: I was trying to break the group. It was almost enough. We put a long gearing setting on the bike, so I had to ride with a different style. I understood what I had to do but I made a mistake on the last lap and the tires were finished. I was braking too late and couldn’t catch the corners. Today was our day to win but, anyway, we are strong and we’re fighting for the championship and 3rd is good for that.”
Pedro Acosta was back among the Moto2 prizes at San Marino. The world championship leader missed the podium last Sunday in Catalunya but was – once more – consistently fast throughout a hot weekend at Misano. Red Bull KTM Ajo were down to single rider participation after Albert Arenas’ crash on Friday left the Spaniard with a dislocated left shoulder, but the team were aptly represented by aspiring champion Acosta. He leapt from 2nd place on the grid and the middle of the front row to lead until the flag for his first win since the Sachsenring in Germany and the fifth of the year. Pedro inflated his margin at the peak of the standings to 34 points.
Pedro Acosta: “Amazing. We worked really well this weekend to focus on our race pace and we saw it was there. We have to be happy today. Good for the championship and one more race [win] in the pocket before we go to India. I just want to say thanks to all the mechanics, all the team, my family and everyone who was pushing for me this weekend.”
Sunday morning in Misano began with the sound of 24 KTM Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup machines for the fourteenth and final race in the 2023 season. Angel Piqueras had already wrapped up the title but the teenager was again prevalent with his pace and racecraft in the last outing. Alvaro Carpe had won on Saturday but it was the new #1 who triumphed in the second leg and by a typically tight nine thousandths of a second.
The first ever trip to India constitutes round thirteen of MotoGP. The series will discover the confines of the Buddh International Circuit, south of New Delhi, in two weeks’ time.
Results Moto3 Gran Premio Red Bull di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini
1. David Alonso (COL) GASGAS 34:04.490
2. Jaume Masia (ESP) Honda +0.036
3. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.237
9. Jose Rueda (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +8.167
16. Daniel Holgado (ESP) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +11.441
21. Filippo Farioli (ITA) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +20.479
World championship standings Moto3
1. Daniel Holgado (ESP) Red Bull KTM Tech3, 161 points
2. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) Husqvarna, 157
3. Jaume Masia (ESP) Honda 149
4. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 144
8. Jose Rueda (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 88
26. Filippo Farioli (ITA) Red Bull KTM Tech3, 2
Results Moto2 Gran Premio Red Bull di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini
1. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo 35:30.145
2. Celestino Vietti (ITA) +6.305
3. Alonso Lopez (ESP) +9.989
DNS. Albert Arenas (ESP)
World championship standings Moto2
1. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 211 points
2. Tony Arbolino (ITA), 177
3. Jake Dixon (GBR), 146
14. Albert Arenas (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo, 59