Fifth row for Niklas Ajo after difficult qualifying session

31.05.2014

Finnish Husqvarna rider takes fifteenth position on the grid for the Italian Grand Prix. Danny Kent, twenty-sixth, will start from the ninth row.

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Finally the sun made an appearance at Mugello on the second day of the Italian Grand Prix weekend. In Moto3 qualifying, Niklas Ajo and Danny Kent took places on the fifth and ninth rows, respectively. Whilst the Finn was unable to round off an excellent start to the week due to heavy traffic, the Briton still does not feel confident at the Italian track.

The weather forecast was for rain, but the Moto3 riders enjoyed a dry final practice session in the morning. The 40 minute session helped Niklas Ajo and Danny Kent to finish determining their setups for the afternoon qualifying run. The Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo rider was ninth, teaming up with Jack Miller to help set a 1:58.452 lap time quicker than his best from yesterday. Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider Kent did likewise, albeit by himself, with a small improvement to his setup which took more than a second off his previous best -1:59.173.

It was a lap not repeated in the qualifying session for Kent. With a time of 1:59.286 at the end of the afternoon, the Briton was lacking a positive feeling with his bike and will start from twenty-sixth position on the grid. Niklas Ajo, on the other hand, felt completely comfortable on his Husqvarna machine -but encountered heavy traffic as a large group of riders searched for a tow. A final lap of 1:58.265 gave him fifteenth place.

The Moto3 race starts at 11:00am local time on Sunday. Danny Kent and Niklas Ajo’s best results at Mugello are fifth (2012 ) and eighth (2013 ) place, respectively. Kent is on a run of five consecutive Grands Prix in the points.

Results – Qualifying Practice
1. Alex Rins (Honda) 1:56.999
2. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:57.264 +0.265
3. Jakub Kornfeil (KTM) 1:57.326 +0.327
4. Romano Fenati (KTM) 1:57.435 +0.436
5. Alexis Masbou (Honda) 1:57.580 +0.581
15. Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo) 1:58.265 +1.266
26. Danny Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo) 1:59.286 +2.287

 

Niklas Ajo >> Audio (solely for radio use)

”It was a little frustrating to see how people waited on the corners to not let you past. We were supposed to work together with Jack, but he could not overtake me because of all the riders who had practically stopped. On the final stint it was absolutely impossible -there was no room to pass and it was horrible. We lacked a bit of top speed on the straight and I was passed by several riders.

Tomorrow we have to push hard in the race, fight hard and forget about today. Now I’m upset because I expected to be higher up, but we have to keep working. It was a bad session, but I feel fast compared to other riders.”

Danny Kent >> Audio (solely for radio use)

”We’ve made some changes from yesterday and some points have been improved, but in some other aspects we have continued to suffer. It was a very bad qualifying session for us -one of my worst in the World Championship- so tomorrow we will have a tough race.

We have to change our mentality, because we cannot continue like this. We’re a little confused, we need to identify the problems we have had, because there were people ahead of me who shouldn’t have been. I already have several years of experience and in 2012 I won two races, so I can’t be taking these results. We have to continue working hard, because this has to improve. We have room for improvement and the potential to be in the leading group. I’m convinced of this.

This morning we took a small step forward, but we need to do more. Tomorrow we will see if we can get a good start, be more aggressive and as consistent as possible, and see where we are at the end of the race.”