MotoGP: KTM claim consecutive podiums as Oliveira wins
KTM had the pace and poise to deliver victory at the Catalan Grand Prix.
Portugal’s Miguel Oliveira has a new lease on life since KTM’s latest upgrades. The number 88 rider was excellent in Tuscany in round six. Coming home in 2nd place behind the dominant Fabio Quartararo. As a result, he was determined to avenge that Mugello defeat in Barcelona.
Oliveira started the race in 4th on the grid.
His KTM and Jack Miller’s Ducati bolted out of the starting blocks to leapfrog the Championship leader into the first corner. The Monster Yamaha Team would still have had confidence in their young Frenchman. He has shown the mental fortitude to recover from poor starts previously this season. However, his temperament was not as rock-solid in the Catalan heat – slowly succumbing to the pressure.
Ducati’s power delivers
Jack Miller and Johann Zarco benefitted from the famed Ducati engine as the pair produced composed displays to grab 2nd and 3rd. Zarco, in particular, has been immense in 2021. Providing a constant reminder to KTM that their decision to terminate his contract after just one season in 2019 was a little premature.
Consequently, Ducati’s factory team will be ecstatic with ‘Thriller’ Miller’s result in round seven. The Australian went into the weekend looking to recover ground on the Championship leaders. The Dukes failed miserably in their backyard in round six. The confidence that has accompanied the red bikes in Jerez and France would surely have evaporated as they landed in Barcelona.
Those consecutive victories seemed a distant memory. However, the Queenslander kept his cool. A lesser rider may have struggled when Miller was forced to start Saturday’s qualifying in Q1. But, in true Australian fashion, he showed grit and determination.
Dragging his Italian beast into Qualifying 2 by topping the timesheets in the first knockout phase. He then followed that up with 2nd place on the grid for Sunday’s showpiece event – beating the much-fancied Yamaha’s and KTM’s in the process.
Quartararo crumbles as KTM celebrate
Despite sealing a fifth consecutive pole position in qualifying. Fabio Quartararo never seemed to have this one in his pocket. His form in Barcelona is exemplary. A happy hunting ground for the 22-year-old. He claimed his first Moto2 win in Catalunya. Since moving to the premier class, he has stood on the podium in two of the three events.
Sunday was his first unsuccessful attempt.
A sense of over-confidence accompanied El Diablo in Qualifying 2. The form he showed in Free Practice 4 gave him an inflated arrogance as he blitzed the field with relative ease. Thus, it appeared that the momentum was with Quartararo.
He then proceeded to hold the field at arm’s length for the majority of the shoot-out session. Although, Johann Zarco and Jack Miller might have forced the number 20’s heart to skip a beat with their late efforts. Luckily, the Yamaha rider was too good in the final sector and he started from first.
Sunday could not have been more different with a devastating contrast in fortunes.
Starting on the pole to finishing sixth with two 3-second penalties indicates just how torrid 2021’s Catalan Grand Prix was for Fabio. Issues with his leathers compounded his problems with the stewards taking a firm stance on his lack of protection. Nevertheless, he still has a 14 point lead over French compatriot Zarco as we look towards Germany and the Netherlands.
Is KTM slowly coming of age?
Pit Beirer’s KTM squad have developed in leaps and bounds.
Brad Binder’s win at the Czech Republic Grand Prix set the wheel in motion. There have been moments where they look set to break into the leading pack before other team’s find another gear. But their latest upgrade has certainly thrown them into the mix.
Oliveira’s consistency was noteworthy on Sunday.
Unfortunately, his South African teammate, Brad Binder struggled to maximise the bike’s potential in Barcelona. He had the misfortune of battling a Bologna missile on the start/finish straight. Pecco Bagnaia had the horsepower to overcome any challenge that the number 33 laid down.
Nonetheless, those back at the Austrian manufacturer’s factory will be delighted with recent showings. Additionally, the promotion of Remy Gardner is another step in the right direction. The young Aussie is sure to add speed and flair to the KTM Tech 3 team, which desperately needs a shake-up.
Germany on the horizon
After a double-header in Italy and Spain, the MotoGP takes a one-week break before returning to action in the Netherlands. The gap will be welcome amongst many of the riders as they look to reload and push on as we approach the middle of the calendar. KTM are likely to feel a little aggrieved as the momentum is in their camp. But there is no reason for them to drop off when we return in a fortnight in Germany.
We hope you enjoyed the article ‘MotoGP: KTM claim consecutive podiums as Oliveira wins.’ What was your favourite moment from the Catalan Grand Prix? Let us know!
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