Red Bull KTM RC16 takes its place on the grid alongside the rest of the MotoGP machines.

The Red Bull KTM MotoGP Factory Racing Team have completed a successful debut in the premiere MotoGP class of the World Championship in a night race at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit with both Pol Espargro and Bradley Smith finishing their first race on the KTM RC16.

Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith
Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith

KTM’s two factory riders, Pol Espargaro (ESP) and Bradley Smith (GBR) brought the brand new KTM RC16 machine home in 16-17th place in a race that represented another important step in the Austrian brand’s impressive, and still relatively short development program.

Red Bull KTM RC16 takes its place on the grid alongside the rest of the MotoGP machines.
Red Bull KTM RC16 takes its place on the grid alongside the rest of the MotoGP machines.

Smith also improved his lap time (1:57:365) in the race compared to his 1:57.654 in the third free practice session.

Pol Espargaro

“We always want more and more but it’s the first race and we need to know what is our position, and where we are right now. We need to understand that the 33 seconds (off the lead time) we were today is good. Honestly, we need to be happy because we did a good job and for sure this track was tough for us. During the pre-season, we were at other circuits and this was the hardest of them all for us.”

Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro

Bradley Smith

“The lap times and the gap to the front guys were better than we expected, and in those conditions, we saw a lot of guys making mistakes so we’re very pleased with what we were able to do today. In general, we did the best we could, and a big thanks to the KTM and we’ll see what happens in Argentina.” Smith also underlined that the weekend had produced a lot of important data for the team and this would be studied intensively and used to make improvements before the next race.”

Bradley Smith
Bradley Smith

Pit Beirer (KTM Motorsport Director)

“Today we are here in three classes. We participated in MotoGP with two riders and it was such a unique moment for our company. This team is so amazing. We have been together for such a short time. We started from zero, with a blank piece of paper, and everyone has done an amazing job.”

Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith
Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith

Mike Leitner (KTM MotoGP Team Manager)

“We are super happy. It was very important that both riders finished this race. We showed what a big step this is for our company. Everyone has been working very hard and this is the result. We had no technical problems or issues in any of the sessions, or in the race and this is super good. The lap times in the race were really impressive and we didn’t expect that.” Leitner said the team would now work hard ahead of the next two races in Argentina and Austin, Texas, which were two new circuits for them. “We can only do our best and as long as everyone sticks to the plan, sooner or later we will be getting the points,” he added.

Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro

The MotoGP race went to Maverick Vinales with Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi picking up the minor podium places.

MotoGP 2017 – Round One – Qatar – MotoGP Race Results

  1. VINALES  Maverick 25 SPA 25 Yamaha Factory Racing Team 38’59.999
  2. DOVIZIOSO  Andrea 4 ITA 20 Ducati Team 0.461
  3. ROSSI  Valentino 46 ITA 16 Yamaha Factory Racing Team 1.928
  4. MARQUEZ  Marc 93 SPA 13 Repsol Honda Team 6.745
  5. PEDROSA  Dani 26 SPA 11 Repsol Honda Team 7.128
  6. ESPARGARO  Aleix 41 SPA 10 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 7.661
  7. REDDING  Scott 45 GBR 9 Octo Pramac Racing 9.782
  8. MILLER  Jack 43 AUS 8 Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS 14.486
  9. RINS  Alex 42 SPA 7 Team Suzuki Ecstar 14.788
  10. FOLGER  Jonas 94 GER 6 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 15.069
  11. LORENZO  Jorge 99 SPA 5 Ducati Team 20.516
  12. BAZ  Loris 76 FRA 4 Reale Avintia Racing 21.255
  13. BARBERA  Hector 8 SPA 3 Reale Avintia Racing 28.828
  14. ABRAHAM  Karel 17 CZE 2 Pull&Bear Aspar Team 29.123
  15. RABAT  Tito 53 SPA 1 Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS 29.470
  16. ESPARGARO  Pol 44 SPA 0 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 33.601
  17. SMITH  Bradley 38 GBR 0 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 39.704
  18. LOWES  Sam 22 GBR 0 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 47.131
  19. PETRUCCI  Danilo 9 ITA 0 Octo Pramac Racing 6 laps
  20. IANNONE  Andrea 29 ITA 0 Team Suzuki Ecstar 10 laps
  21. BAUTISTA  Alvaro 19 SPA 0 Pull&Bear Aspar Team 13 laps
  22. ZARCO  Johann 5 FRA 0 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 14 laps
  23. CRUTCHLOW  Cal 35 GBR 0 LCR Honda 16 laps
Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro

MotoGP 2017 – Round One – Qatar – MotoGP Championship Points Standings

  1. VINALES  Maverick 25 SPA 25 Yamaha Factory Racing Team
  2. DOVIZIOSO  Andrea 4 ITA 20 Ducati Team
  3. ROSSI  Valentino 46 ITA 16 Yamaha Factory Racing Team
  4. MARQUEZ  Marc 93 SPA 13 Repsol Honda Team
  5. PEDROSA  Dani 26 SPA 11 Repsol Honda Team
  6. ESPARGARO  Aleix 41 SPA 10 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
  7. REDDING  Scott 45 GBR 9 Octo Pramac Racing
  8. MILLER  Jack 43 AUS 8 Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS
  9. RINS  Alex 42 SPA 7 Team Suzuki Ecstar
  10. FOLGER  Jonas 94 GER 6 Monster Yamaha Tech 3
  11. LORENZO  Jorge 99 SPA 5 Ducati Team
  12. BAZ  Loris 76 FRA 4 Reale Avintia Racing
  13. BARBERA  Hector 8 SPA 3 Reale Avintia Racing
  14. ABRAHAM  Karel 17 CZE 2 Pull&Bear Aspar Team
  15. RABAT  Tito 53 SPA 1 Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS
Bradley Smith
Bradley Smith