Baltus has strong showing in Austin and qualifies 12th, Van den Goorbergh starts from P21

Barry Baltus qualified in 12th place in the Moto2 class at the Circuit of The Americas on Saturday afternoon. Zonta van den Goorbergh will start the US Grand Prix from 21st on Sunday afternoon.

This weekend’s American Grand Prix is being held at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. Barry Baltus was immediately strong on the 5.51-kilometre circuit, which not only boasts many elevation changes but also has quite bumpy asphalt. The Belgian finished in the top ten in all three practice sessions, even finishing second in the final session. This allowed Baltus to go straight through to Q2.

Zonta van den Goorbergh finished 23rd after the three practice sessions, making him go to Q1. In this session, the 17-year-old Dutchman started strongly but due to the significant increase in temperature, the grip level was a lot lower. In the end, Van den Goorbergh clocked the seventh fastest time in the Q1 session which put him 21st on the grid.

Baltus seemed to be on the hunt for his best qualifying result so far after his strong performance in the third practice session, but a small front end slide caused him to lose crucial time in Q2. In the end, the 18-year-old rider finished 12th, a starting position from where he will compete for his best finish in the Moto2 class.

Barry Baltus – P12: “Today was a very good day. This morning we did an excellent job, and the feeling with the bike was great. We led the third practice session and ended up in second place, which was really good. Then in qualifying it didn’t go as I expected, we ended up in twelfth place. I had a small crash in the second lap and then I tried to get the bike started again to do another two laps. In the end it wasn’t the best qualifying but we’ll need to continue working like this, it is part of the process. I think we can have a great race tomorrow, our pace is good so we need to be confident. Let’s see what happens.”

Zonta van den Goorbergh – P21: “In the end, I think we have to be happy with qualifying. P21 is not quite where I want to be, but looking at how the third practice session went I don’t think things could have gone very differently today. In Q1 it was a lot hotter than all the sessions before so there was less grip. The riders who ended up being the fastest in Q1 also managed to qualify well in Q2, so the level in Q1 was just very high now.

It’s the way things are, this is a circuit I find very tricky and struggle to go faster. We are 1.4 seconds off pole position and on such a long track that is not a disaster, especially as we were still 2.6 seconds behind the fastest in third practice. We made a step forward today and hopefully we can have a great race tomorrow.”

Jarno Janssen – Fieten Olie Racing GP team manager: “We are having a good weekend so far with both riders. In Q1 it was difficult for Zonta to get to Q2 but his lap time was much improved which puts him in 21st place. We cannot be unhappy with that, especially considering how competitive the field is and which riders eventually did get through to Q2.

Barry had a fantastic start to the day with a P2 at the end of practice. Then you always get jitters in your stomach because anything is possible in qualifying. However, an accident can always happen and in this case it happened in turn 1 where he lost the front. It took him a while to get the bike running again but then he managed to improve his lap time. Unfortunately it was no more than twelfth position, but that is of course a good starting position to fight for a top eight position tomorrow: that is definitely the goal.

It could have been a bit better, so we have to keep working to be there in the crucial moments as well. We need to get stronger in that area and then we can take the next step.”

The 16-lap Moto2 race at the Circuit of The Americas will start Sunday afternoon at 12:15 local time, 19:15 Central European summer time.