Raffin ensures best starting position for NTS in seventh
Jesko Raffin starts the Moto2 race of the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday from seventh place on the grid. The Swiss gave NTS RW Racing GP the best result so far. Bo Bendsneyder missed QP2 by a whisker and starts from nineteenth place at Phillip Island. The race starts at 3.20 a.m. European (winter) time.
The strong wind and a little rain made the Saturday difficult. Nevertheless, already in FP3 Raffin set the eighth time, again confirming direct placement for QP2. Bendsneyder came to the fifteenth time, which was just not enough for QP2.
In QP1 the Dutchman quickly put down 1.34.970, which initially seemed enough for a place in the first four. However, he couldn’t improve that time and dropped to sixth place. With a grid penalty for Sam Lowes, due to a dangerous move on Raffin in FP2 on Friday, that meant Bendsneyder will start the race from nineteenth.
A few drops of rain at the end of QP1 were a warning to the riders who took to the track in QP2. The session started dry. Raffin was immediately in good shape and secured a place on the third row with 1.34.243. With five minutes to go, however, it started to rain again and now more seriously, so that no one improved his time anymore.
Bo Bendsneyder: “The qualification didn’t go the way I wanted. I had a good time, but I ran into some traffic at the end of the lap. After that I ran into more traffic all the way around and that’s why I decided to drop back a bit to create more space. Just when I had a free track, it was wet in turn 1 and I could no longer run a fast lap. A pity, because a place in the first four and so moving on to QP2 would have been possible. I had a lot of trouble with the wind today, much more than yesterday. The expectation is that the wind will not be as strong tomorrow, so hopefully I can get back the good feeling of yesterday. I think it could be a good race anyway from nineteenth place.”
Jesko Raffin: “The seventh place, starting from the third row, is great. That gives the opportunity to be right there from the start and to score a good result. But we have to wait and see what the weather does. This can go in any direction, but we are prepared for both wet and dry thanks to the good work of the team. The wind also bothered me. With that much wind it is always difficult to feel the bike. Nevertheless, in FP3 we were able to make some good changes to the bike that worked out well. QP2 was a bit short due to the rain, but the result is great.”