The scenic and demanding course in Portimao provided a clean slate for the MotoGP field. Aside from a small familiarization test in October, the Portuguese venue was a mystery for the majority of the grid. There was a lack of data, settings and knowledge for the sweeping 4.6km layout but the Red Bull KTM teams immediately got down to work and chipped away at the lap-times through Friday and Saturday.
Just a tenth of a second prevented Brad Binder from making the cut to Q2 on Saturday afternoon. The South African was extremely close to the second phase of qualification but will now occupy 13th spot on the grid.
The last 25 laps of MotoGP action this season will begin at 15.00 CET on Sunday.
“We were really unfortunate just to miss out on Q2. The frustrating thing for me is that I have the pace and I was capable of a lap-time a good couple of tenths quicker than I managed. In general, I think we’ve done a good job of getting my feeling better, especially because I felt like I was struggling a lot, in FP3 in particular, and we made a couple of steps forward. The race pace is not too bad at all we just need a bit more time on the bike. The circuit here is really hard. If you make just a couple of small mistakes in places it costs you all the way round. It’s been good to learn so far and I think I’ll be stronger tomorrow.”
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