Niklas Ajo and Danny Kent complete first laps at the Circuit of the Americas and set the fifteenth and nineteenth best times, respectively, on the combined timesheets
The Husqvarna Moto3 World Championship riders, Danny Kent and Niklas Ajo, were back in action on Friday at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. It was their first time riding since three weeks ago in Qatar. On the first day of the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas, Ajo and Kent began working on the setup of their Husqvarna bikes, concluding the first two practice sessions with the fifteenth and nineteenth best times, respectively.
As is usually the case for Niklas Ajo, the Finn made steady progress throughout the day. The Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo rider worked on setting up his Moto3 machine in the opening session, clocking the sixteenth fastest time -2:20.462. In the afternoon he took another step forward, placing amongst the top ten in the first 20 minutes and setting a final time 1.5 seconds quicker than in the morning -2:18.740. This time earned him fifteenth place in the session.
Meanwhile, Kent quickly adapted to the American circuit -despite it being the first time he had ridden there with a Moto3 bike. From the first few minutes of the first session he was up into the top ten, becoming the third fastest rider at the halfway mark. Finally, the Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider took tenth place with a time of 2:19.515. This lap time was one he would beat in the last session of the day, but not by as much as he had hoped; his 2:19.140 marker put him in nineteenth place.
Saturday is headlined by a qualifying shootout at 12:35 local time. Last season, Niklas Ajo took his joint best position of the year, with seventh on the grid.
Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Efren Vazquez (Honda) 2:16.696
2. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:16.825 +0.129
3. Isaac Viñales (KTM) 2:17.275 +0.579
4. Jakub Kornfeil (KTM) 2:17.317 +0.621
5. Alex Rins (Honda) 2:17.454 +0.758
15. Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo) 2:18.740 +2.044
19. Danny Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo) 2:19.140 +2.444
Niklas Ajo >> Audio (solely for radio use)
”This first day at Austin has not been too bad. I think that in the end we did a good job, finding a good setup and improving our feeling. This morning we had more problems, having not ridden since Qatar and being at a completely different circuit. We did not have time to find a good pace, but we succeeded in doing so in the second session. We are far off the fastest times, so we have to continue moving forward. Tomorrow we will try to get to the top positions in qualifying.”
Danny Kent >> Audio (solely for radio use)
”Today the day did not go as we had expected. For the second session we made some changes to the bike setup, which with old tyres were giving us a good feeling. However, with new rubber we had big problems. We know what we have to change for tomorrow so I’m calm about things. Tomorrow will be better, for sure.”