Baltus and Van den Goorbergh show speed with Q2 performances in Portimão
In the second qualifying session for the Moto3 class at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve on Saturday afternoon, Barry Baltus set the fifteenth fastest lap time, Zonta van den Goorbergh qualified eighteenth. Both Fieten Olie Racing GP riders did not manage to take out the maximum due to a crash in Q2.
The first Grand Prix of 2023 started with two free practice sessions on Friday in Portimão. Barry Baltus finished the day in 14th place but could not quite find his pace from the test yet, Zonta van den Goorbergh was not fully fit but still managed to set the 23rd lap time despite that.
Conditions were better on Saturday and with a sixth time in the third practice Baltus managed to secure a place in Q2. Van den Goorbergh was still feeling sick but immediately took more than a second off his time from Friday, still it was not enough and he had to take part in Q1. In that session the Dutchman rode an impressive lap time and was allowed to join the other seventeen fastest Moto2 riders.
Both riders started the second qualifying session well but a crash in both cases prevented them from achieving the maximum result on Saturday. Nevertheless, the starting position is not bad with Baltus in fifteenth place and Van den Goorbergh in P18 who will both be looking to do everything possible to start the new season in the best way on Sunday afternoon.
Barry Baltus – P15: “Overall it was a good day today. We were sixth in the third practice session with a very good lap, therefore we could go straight to Q2. Our strategy was to stop once and do a tyre change and after that I made small mistake. I think we could have been on the second or third row. It’s not a big drama, we showed that the speed is there. Now we look towards tomorrow, I am confident that we can do a good race.”
Zonta van den Goorbergh – P18: “I am quite happy with how today went. This morning we unfortunately couldn't go straight to Q2 because of two crashes, both due to hitting a bump in two very fast laps. Then I was able to do several fast laps in Q1 and went to Q2 quite comfortably. When I went out in Q2, I was already not feeling great and I made a lot of mistakes in the out-lap and the first lap. Then things went wrong in the first corner of the second lap, mainly because I didn't feel good physically. That's very unfortunate because I think a top ten qualifying could have been quite possible, many of the guys I kept behind me in Q1 were now in front of me. Now it's wait and see how things go tonight and tomorrow morning, then we'll see how tomorrow's race will go."
Jarno Janssen – Fieten Olie Racing GP team manager: “After yesterday, surely today was a very good day for us. Barry had a great position in third practice this morning, qualifying directly for Q2. Zonta was also very good this morning but he had two unfortunate crashes, despite that he got through Q1 to Q2 which he did incredibly well. Then you go into Q2 with high expectations, unfortunately it turned out differently. In the end, that's the game we play, it's almost impossible to predict. Barry and Zonta both went down but I am very confident about tomorrow's race. We know what we are capable of so I have a good feeling about it."
The 23-lap Moto2 race will start Sunday afternoon at 12:15 local time, 13:15 Central European Time. Note that from Saturday to Sunday, daylight saving time will start.