Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder has given the Austrian factory Friday honours in the Moto2™ class after setting a 1:29.029 in FP2 at the myWorld Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich. The South African set his best lap on his final flying lap to knock Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) off top spot as Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) completes a top three covered by 0.118 seconds.
The sun was shining as temperatures soared in Speilberg, but that meant improving FP1 times came a little difficult. Championship leader Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was the early pacesetter in FP2 after the Spaniard had completed the opening Free Practice session down in ninth place, but he wouldn’t stay at the summit for long. Binder, fourth quickest in FP1, soon found himself at the top of the timesheets in FP2, but Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) and Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) were the only riders to go fastest than their FP1 times halfway through the session. Martin’s time saw him go inside the top 14 having finished FP1 in P16 and soon enough, the reigning Moto3™ World Champion was second in FP2 behind teammate Binder.
However, Nagashima and Lüthi were about to move the goalposts. The Kalex duo went P1 and P2 in FP2 as well as the combined times to be the first big movers from FP1, with both finishing outside the top 10 on Friday morning. Other riders like Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) were improving as personal best overall times started to file in, but Binder was setting overall best sectors. With the chequered flag about to drop, Binder came across the line to go 0.090 faster than Nagashima’s P1 time. But the session ended with the MotoGP™ bound rider pulling off the track at Turn 3 with a mechanical issue.
Behind Nagashima and Lüthi was Navarro in fourth place, the Spaniard setting his best time on his penultimate lap to improve by four places from FP1. Czech GP podium finisher Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) ends Friday inside the top five just 0.187 adrift of Binder, the Italian going quicker in FP2 after finishing 18th in the morning. Thanks to their FP1 times, Friday morning pacesetter Augusto Fernandez (FlexBox HP 40) sits sixth ahead of Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM), a crasher in FP1 and Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) – a crasher in the morning and afternoon. Marini improved his time to sit ninth on the combined times as the Italian finishes 0.018 ahead of Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) – the Thai rider drastically jumping up the times from P22 in the morning to P10 at the end of Friday.
Championship leader Marquez couldn’t find improvements in the afternoon as he finished down in P15 on the combined times, slipping from P9 in FP1. The Spaniard will have to find some speed on Saturday morning if he wants to climb into the top 14 to progress straight into Q2 – but it won’t be that simple. Riders like teammate Xavi Vierge, Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46) – who both slip outside top 14 places in Q1 - and Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) all currently sit just off the top 14 spots, so Moto2™ FP3 looks set to be an intriguing session.
Watch it live at 10:55 local time (GMT+2) to see who will have to contest in Q1 later in the afternoon.
Top 10 combined:
1. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – 1:29.029
2. Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) + 0.090
3. Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) + 0.118
4. Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) + 0.133
5. Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) + 0.187
6. Augusto Fernandez (FlexBox HP 40) + 0.235
7. Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) + 0.281
8. Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) + 0.307
9. Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.336
10. Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 0.354
Click here for the full results!