Oliveira and Lowes star at Brno
Miguel Oliveira secured his best result in MotoGP as he finished sixth in the Czech Republic Grand Prix. Meanwhile in Moto2, Sam Lowes enjoyed another visit to the podium at Brno.
In the eyes of Hervé Poncharal, this Czech Republic Grand Prix will live long in the memory. “It was a historic day,” enthused the head of the Red Bull KTM Tech 3 team. “It is KTM's first ever MotoGP win, a just reward for the work put in by an entire group of people who, for months on end, have spared no effort to improve our RC16. Miguel Oliveira was outstanding for us this weekend. And not only because he finished sixth at Brno, his best result since moving to MotoGP. He could have finished even higher if he’d started from further up the grid. Riding in the pack is never easy and we saw that, as soon as he had open track ahead of him, he was capable of posting the same lap times as the race winner, Brad Binder. The signs are very encouraging as we head to Austria, KTM's own backyard.” The only black mark on a great weekend for the Tech 3 team came when Iker Lecuona crashed out of the race on lap 4, taking Joan Mir with him. At the time, the two men were battling for fourteenth place, the Tech 3 rider having fought his way through the field from nineteenth on the grid.
In the Moto2 class, Sam Lowes shone brightest in the colours of Total as he rode to an outstanding second place behind Enea Bastianini. The Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider – who had not tasted a podium finish since the 2016 Aragon Grand Prix – signalled his intention in practice by setting the second fastest time in qualifying. “It feels good to be fighting for the top places again," said the Briton. “I have to thank the team because the bike has improved a lot in each session. I felt good all weekend, which is something that in recent years I’ve really missed.” His teammate Augusto Fernandez was in similarly upbeat mood following his own fifth place finish. “It's my best result of the season and it demonstrates the progress we’ve made since Jerez,” he said. “I'm gradually rebuilding my confidence.”
In Moto3, Deniz Öncü took home a solitary point in fifteenth place, while Ayumu Sasaki finished twentieth. “It was a harder weekend for our young riders,” explained Hervé Poncharal. “We made some small strategic errors in qualifying and we paid the price in the race.”
Thanks to an impressive sixth place finish at the Czech Republic Grand Prix, which erased the memory of his retirement in Jerez, Miguel Oliveira climbs to twelfth in the MotoGP standings on 18 points. Iker Lecuona is yet to open his account. In the Moto2 class, Sam Lowes moves up to fourth in the overall standings, 27 points behind the leader. The 11 points scored by Augusto Fernandez at Brno see the Spaniard move up to thirteenth. In the Moto3 class, Ayumu Sasaki and Deniz Öncü, level on 5 points, sit in twenty-first and twenty-second places overall.