Van den Goorbergh qualifies ninth for tropical Indonesian Grand Prix

Zonta van den Goorbergh set the ninth fastest lap time in the second qualifying session for the Moto2 class at the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit on Saturday. The 17-year-old Dutchman was just two tenths away from pole position while Fieten Olie Racing GP teammate Barry Baltus struggled on the Indonesian circuit. The nineteen-year-old Belgian qualified in 23rd place.

This weekend, the fifteenth Grand Prix of the season is being held at the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit in Indonesia where, with plenty of sunshine and temperatures above 35°C, it is tropically hot. It is the second time the MotoGP paddock has travelled to the circuit on Lombok with Fieten Olie Racing GP starting the weekend well on Friday with an 11th place for Zonta van den Goorbergh. Barry Baltus clearly struggled and finished the first day with the 26th lap time.

It was a similar picture on Saturday morning with Van den Goorbergh improving his lap time further which allowed to go straight through to Q2 in seventh. Baltus had improved considerably but had to go to Q1 as he finished the third practice session in seventeenth. In that session, the Belgian rider could not improve his lap time further meaning he will have to start Sunday’s Moto2 race at the Indonesian circuit from 23rd position.

Zonta van den Goorbergh – P9: “With the positions we achieved today, things certainly didn’t go badly. This morning in third practice it was just a matter of going straight through to Q2 and we achieved that goal with a nice P7. Then in Q2 I was not very happy with how things went, even though ninth place is obviously a good result. I finished 0.233 from pole position and for my feeling I could have had those two tenths quite easily, and maybe more. The result could have been better but of course in hindsight that’s easy to say. As a result, we have to settle for P9 and that is certainly not a bad starting position for tomorrow, I think we can have a very good race.”

Barry Baltus – P23: “I feel a bit lost on the bike so there is not a lot to say. In the third practice session I made an improvement but in qualifying I felt very bad. It was similar to the feeling I had last weekend so it is a bit difficult for us at the moment. We keep working however and trying to find out what is the problem. It’s not easy but tomorrow is the race so that is another opportunity to try and get the feeling back and enjoy riding again.”

Jarno Janssen – Fieten Olie Racing GP team manager: “We had another very good day today. On Zonta’s side, it is visual that we are continuing the trend and with him there is a lot of confidence resulting in a neat ninth place. If you compare it to last year at this circuit and where we were at the beginning of this season, it is clear that a lot of progress has been made. We can’t help but be very proud of that. We honestly think more could have been possible but there are several riders on the track and you don’t know what everyone’s plan is. As a result, he got a bit stuck in the fourth sector, losing some time. Anyway, ninth place on the grid is excellent and hopefully we can turn that into a good result tomorrow.

On the other side of the pit box, we continue to struggle a bit. Barry did manage to improve considerably this morning and it was noticeable that he was feeling better. He unfortunately just missed out on a direct place in Q2 and then you have to make sure that happens in Q1. That was not the case and in Q1 he dropped to ninth place resulting in a 23rd place on the grid. That is not where we want to be with him because he has qualified in the top ten several times this year. We have to make sure Barry regains his confidence and his old form. It’s obviously not a disaster because we’re in a process of trial and error and keep learning, but it’s a shame it’s not coming out at the moment. With a P9 and a P23, I think there is more in it for both riders tomorrow.”

The 22-lap Moto2 race at the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit will kick off Sunday at 13:15 local time, 07:15 Central European summer time.