KTM MAKES HISTORY IN VALENCIA: FIRST PODIUM IN MOTOGP AND VICTORIES IN MOTO2 AND MOTO3MotoGP | Red Bull | KTM | Red Bull KTM Racing
MotoGP Pol Espargaro, in a wet and daring test, thanks to an exceptional conduct of the race, he finished third, helping to win KTM the first podium in the top class. Victory in Moto2 for the tough Miguel Oliveira, while race to mark in the annals for the fifteen year old Can Oncu who, fresh of the title in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, won the debut in Moto3!
For the sixteenth consecutive year the short and tortuous Spanish circuit Ricardo Tormo hosted the Grand Prix de la Comunitat Valenciana, the final stage of the MotoGP World Championship. The difficult climatic conditions, with repeated showers and thunderstorms, influenced Saturday's qualifying, leaving only MotoGP to rest, while the rainy and tormented day on Sunday saw KTM achieve important results in all three classes.
The Austrian manufacturer was able to write another important page in its history, while the Red Bull KTM Factory MotoGP Team greeted Bradley Smith, the first rider to join the MotoGP project in early 2016.
Pol Espargaro Saturday celebrated his best qualifying run of the season and with the sixth time went to occupy the second row on the grid. The Spaniard immediately appeared fast and competitive, both in wet and dry conditions. At the beginning of the race he immediately launched on the first group, fighting for a long time with Marc Marquez and settling in fourth place, until he crashed in the curve 2. Even though his RC16 was damaged, Pol managed to climb up to reach the eighth place, when the red flag was exposed due to the conditions of the track made dangerous by heavy rain. At the restart of the race, with grid that replied the ranking of the fourteenth lap, Espargaro attacked again, reaching the fourth position initially, long defense from the attacks of Daniel Pedrosa and ending third after the fall of Valentino Rossi. For Espargaro it was the first podium after five seasons in the premier class, while the RC16 obtained its first important result after only 38 grand prizes.
Smith's race started immediately uphill, or better from the last row, due to a technical problem that Saturday limited its potential in Q1. Sunday after an excellent start in the rain he cleverly reached the sixth place, but he was the protagonist of an unexpected slip at turn 13. Smith's determination to resume the race before the suspension of the race allowed him to return in the window of five minutes from the exposure of the red flag and start again in the second fraction of the race from the sixteenth box, and then conclude eighth, the best result obtained after two years of hard work and perseverance with the RC16.
For the purposes of the ranking, Espargaro, despite two rather serious injuries, ended the season in fourteenth place, while Smith finished in eighteenth.
Espargaro: "It was a really crazy weekend! Despite the weather conditions so variable, I felt good and in the race I managed to keep up with some Yamaha, managing to ring excellent laps. Finding myself firmly in the top eight has helped to increase my confidence, but the contingencies are always lurking and I fell. Fortunately, the bike has broken down and the red flag has allowed me to repair the damage and still give 100%. I told myself: it's your chance, take it! So I kept pushing, fighting with Dani for the fourth position. Thanks to Valentino's mistake I was able to conquer my first podium in MotoGP, I'm very happy! This podium is an incredible satisfaction for me, for my team, for my wife and for all the people working on this project. You do not know how much effort and investment KTM is engaging in the project and finishing the year on the podium was fantastic, we are satisfied with the results of KTM today ".
Smith: "Some things are simply destined to happen.After the crash I was coming back to the pits to recover the second bike and finish the race because there were only fifteen riders on the track and I could have scored points. with a fall and nothing done, with the doubt that I could do something anyway .. My goal of the weekend was to get six points and beat Espargaro in the championship, so when the race started again I found myself in the conditions to collect the I needed eight points, but today Pol did a fantastic job, it was nice to see my teammate on the podium and I am very happy for the team and all the guys who work on the MotoGP project. leave KTM with the best result since I started running with them, I can not ask for much more ".
Mike Leitner (Team Manager): "For the whole KTM and Red Bull group this was a fantastic day. We knew that such a result would have been possible because we were "there" in dry and wet conditions, especially with Pol, but Bradley also had good chances. Finishing the season with a podium and the eighth position for Bradley is a great satisfaction and it's nice that the Englishman goes with his best result in his pocket; we wish him all the best for his future. We did not expect this podium, but the race was crazy and Pol had to recover from a crash, come back and concentrate again to fight for the podium again; it's a wonderful story that no one would have believed this morning! "
Pit Beirer (KTM Motorsport Director): "Throughout the year I have continued and repeated that we are better than we could show on paper because of too many injuries suffered by our drivers and our testers. At the Sachsenring we were ready to change gear with the new bike, but at the next race Pol was injured and everything went wrong from there. Two months ago we were in a great crisis, we were ready to introduce important news on the bike, especially at the chassis level, but our drivers were not in shape. Despite everything, we never gave up and all together we decided to respect the programs because we were sure we were on the right track. It was important not to lose direction and today we got the first, important feedback. In this sport, to compete at high levels, you need perfect drivers and Pol has proven that he can achieve great results if physically and with a good feeling. This is a great return for the entire company, because the entire Factory Team and every single department in KTM has somehow helped make the project work. The third place is perhaps more than we expected today, but a great result is the best way to return something to people who have been working for so many hours on an ambitious project. It means so much to me and it's hard to find the right words to describe how I feel. "
Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder, official Red Bull KTM Ajo Team riders, already confirmed second and third in the FIM Moto2 2018 World Championship standings, did not leave with particular concern for the last round of Valencia, except to obtain the best possible result . Oliveira, at his last Grand Prix in Moto2 before his move to the MotoGP class, has driven in a mature way and, certainly helped by the fall of Alex Marquez, has conquered the third triumph of the year. Team mate Brad Binder was unfortunately one of the many KO drivers who had a difficult track conditions, but KTM still won a fantastic 1-2 thanks to the "local" Iker Lecuona, who for the first time won second place. In addition, Red Bull KTM Ajo team took home the best team title.
Oliveira: "Alex made a mistake and I managed to take advantage of it, checking until the last lap, it was very difficult to maintain the concentration, I was trying to manage the pace and the advantage, I'm happy to have finished the season with a win. definitely a goodbye to the category and the guys on the team deserve the title of the Team because they worked non-stop during the race weekends, during the tests and at the factory, I'm happy for these last three seasons and I want to thank them all. big jump in MotoGP, I just need time and then we'll see what happens. "
As always the Moto3 has opened the program on Sunday with the first race of the day in the wet. In the 23 laps characterized by a high rate of falls (only 20 riders have come to an end), the 15-year-old Red Bull Rookies CupCan Oncu driver, in his Moto3 debut, wrote the story taking his KTM RS250 GP to the top of the podium. Oncu drove with consistency and intelligence on a track made treacherous by the rain, becoming the youngest winner in Moto3, the first of Turkish nationality and the first to triumph at the debut after 27 years. On the podium another KTM, that of the British John McPhee, who finished third at the finish line.
Oncu: "I did not take any big risks, I was driving according to my standards It's really a good feeling to write a new page in the history of the World Championship as the youngest ever winning rider in the debut! In the Rookies I learned to fight and drive the best the KTM, in addition to managing the races and not falling in. Racing in Moto3 was my dream, there are incredibly fast riders and I can not wait to compete with them next year ".
The 2018 season has come to an end, but 2019 is coming! On Tuesday and Wednesday the Red Bull KTM Team will unveil the RC16 2019 destined for Pol Espargaro and the new purchase Johann Zarco, who will make the first laps on the Valencia circuit ahead of next season.