Fieten Olie Racing GP prepares for Australian storm with both riders in Q2

Both Fieten Olie Racing GP riders entered Q2 on Saturday at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. Barry Baltus managed to qualify fifteenth for the Australian Grand Prix while Zonta van den Goorbergh secured seventeenth place on the grid for the Moto2 race that starts earlier than initially planned on Sunday.

The race weekend at the spectacular Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit began Friday under almost ideal conditions. Under a brightly shining sun, pleasant temperatures and hardly any wind, the first two practice sessions were held at the fast circuit located right next to the ‘Bass Strait’. While Zonta van den Goorbergh started well on his first GP at the Australian circuit, Friday was a bit more difficult for Barry Baltus.

On Saturday, the temperature had dropped a bit and more clouds hung over Phillip Island. In the third practice session Baltus and Van den Goorbergh were less than a tenth short of direct entry into Q2, resulting in them having to start in Q1. In this session they set the third and fourth lap times respectively, allowing both riders to take part in Q2 after all.

In this second qualifying session, Baltus came to the fifteenth time while Van den Goorbergh qualified in seventeenth place. Although both riders could have been higher up the timesheet, it is a good starting position for Sunday’s race. However, it remains to be seen whether the race will actually be run as the programme has been changed due to predicted rain and heavy gusts of wind. As a result, the MotoGP race has already been run on Saturday.

Barry Baltus – P15: “It was not a bad day, I felt quite good on the bike. We went in a different direction compared to yesterday and it seemed to work. It is a shame that we didn’t go to Q2 directly but after a good lap in Q1 we still managed to do so. In the end we were missing a bit but it’s not so bad. We need to keep working in this direction and build some confidence for tomorrow’s race. So far it has been a good weekend for us where we got a bit of feeling back.”

Zonta van den Goorbergh – P17: “I am definitely a bit disappointed with how qualifying went because in the third practice session we had the speed to go straight through to Q2, unfortunately that was not possible due to traffic on the track. In Q1, I put down a couple of good laps in succession by myself which allowed us to move on to Q2. Then in the second qualifying session I had no grip at all on the rear when it should have been the same rear tyre. That’s a shame but tomorrow is the race. It will start a bit earlier so we have to wait and see what the weather conditions will be. We are going to do our best either way.”

Jarno Janssen – Fieten Olie Racing GP team manager: “It certainly wasn’t a bad day for us today. In the third practice session we unfortunately just missed direct places in Q2 with both riders but they both performed very strongly again in Q1. They worked well together and were able to get through to Q2. Then it’s always a bit of a gamble but we are satisfied because the speed is clearly there with Barry and Zonta. They recovered well after yesterday, and with a fifteenth and seventeenth place we are not in a bad place. It now remains to be seen if we will race at all tomorrow, at least we will start very early with a warm-up session. Let’s hope it can all happen tomorrow because it would be a shame to leave here without having raced.”

Sunday for Fieten Olie Racing GP at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit starts at 08:40 local time (23:40 Central European Summer time, Saturday evening) with a 10-minute warm-up session. The 23-lap race will start at 11:15 am local time, 02:15 am CEST.