It was another difficult day at the Losail International Circuit for KTM with none of their riders progressing through Q1 during Saturday’s qualifying. 

Miguel Oliveira was fastest of the four KTM riders on his competitive debut weekend for the factory team in 15th position.

The RC16 bike is struggling to find performance around the fast flowing Qatar circuit with only Lorenzo Savadori slower than Brad Binder and the two Tech 3 riders in qualifying.

Oliveira did however find significant improvements during FP4 as he finished the session fourth. 

Provided he can make a good start, the Portuguese rider could still salvage a good points haul. 

"The pace makes us look close to our rivals but the one-lap performance is so far away that we have mixed feelings," said Oliveira. 

"For sure it is a good indicator but to have a good race you really need to qualify better. It’s a fact. But we will do our best to make a good couple of laps and hang to the fastest guys. 

"I have no idea how the race will turn up and if the Yamahas or Ducatis will get away or it will be a group. Let’s see what comes up tomorrow."

KTM have never gone well in Qatar and therefore it’s not likely to reflect their potential for the season, but it is still a worry for a team that made such progress in 2020. 

Binder used the words ‘sick to his stomach’ to describe possibly cracking the top ten and it being a good result. 

While Oliveira is just hoping to get the best from these two rounds before heading home to Portimao where he dominated last year. 

"That’s life. It doesn’t make me sick to my stomach, it’s the reality. We need to be optimistic all the time and work on our weaknesses and what we have," added the two-time race winner in 2020 

"That’s what we are going to do these two weekends and hopefully we can come out of Qatar with a good feeling and looking back knowing we did everything we could in these two GPs."

 

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