News 20 Oct 2023

Binder leads KTM 1-2 on Friday at Australian MotoGP

Aldeguer and Munoz set Moto2 and Moto3 pace at Phillip Island.

Image: Supplied.

It was a Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 1-2 as the 2023 Australian MotoGP opened, with Brad Binder leading home hero Jack Miller at the head of the practice standings, as Fermin Aldeguer and David Munoz set the Friday pace in Moto2 and Moto3 at Phillip Island.

South African Binder fired in a 1m27.943s lap in the closing stages of this afternoon’s practice session, with Miller just 0.148s behind in second.

Aprilia Racing’s Maverick Vinales looked solid all day in third, narrowly edging this morning’s pace-setter Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing), who concluded the day fourth fastest and 0.279s from the Binder’s benchmark.

A strong performance from GasGas Factory Racing Tech3’s Pol Espargaro saw the Spaniard feature inside the top five, as Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing), Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing), Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team), Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) and Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) completed the top 10.

For the second week in succession, Francesco Bagnaia will appear in qualifying one after concluding the practice session this afternoon just less than two-tenths from a direct qualifying two transfer in 11th, while Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez, 12th fastest, suffered a fall in both sessions.

Critically, a schedule change in response to the inclement weather forecast sees Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix race effectively swap with the sprint.

Image: Supplied.

In Moto2, Beta Tools SpeedUP’s Fermin Aldeguer delivered a formidable pace, clocking a number of laps in the 1m32s bracket to convincingly top Friday in the intermediate class.

The Boscoscuro chassis has a good recent record at Phillip Island, with Aldeguer qualifying fastest at the venue in 2022 and teammate Alonso Lopez taking the win in Australia last year.

Aldeguer led both sessions today, with his fastest time of a 1m32.548s seeing him just over three-tenths shy of the qualifying record he posted 12 months ago.

In P2, Aron Canet was the only one who came close to matching Aldeguer’s outright pace, with a 1m32.686s seeing him over three-tenths clear of championship leader Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in third. Acosta’s fastest time came in the first session this morning, while both he and Canet suffered a fall at turn four this afternoon.

Fourth was Inde GasGas Aspar Team’s Jake Dixon, leading Manuel Gonzalez (Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46 Team) who improved rapidly this afternoon to notch a 1m33.098s and round out the top five.

Behind sixth-placed Joe Roberts (OnlyFans American Racing), Idemitsu Honda Team Asia’s Somkiat Chantra was another big improver in the second session, a 1m33.450s over one and a half seconds faster than what he managed this morning. Meanwhile, Sergio Garcia (Pons Wegow Los40), Lopez and Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) completed the top 10. Also of note, Geese on the circuit brought out the red flags briefly in the second intermediate class session.

Image: Supplied.

BOE Motorsports racer Munoz set the Moto3 standard on day one at Phillip Island, leading both practice sessions to start the 16th round in the best way.

Munoz’s best effort of a 1m36.791s came in this afternoon’s session, seeing him lead Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team) – the only other rider in the 1m36s bracket – by 0.073s.

Winner last time out at Mandalika, Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets MSI) concluded the day third with a 1m37.110s, ahead of Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) and Deniz Oncu (Red Bull KTM Tech3) inside the top five.

Despite missing an extended amount of track time in the second session with delays getting his bike back to the pits, championship leader Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) finished Friday sixth fastest, courtesy of a 1m37.337s set in practice two.

Suffering a fall this afternoon, Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team) postest the seventh fastest effort, leading Australian Joel Kelso (CFMOTO Racing Pruestel GP), who was P8 and just over six tenths from Munoz out front. VisonTrack Racing Team’s Josh Whatley and title contender Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3) completed the top 10.

Detailed results