Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo rider completes a good first day with eighth place on the combined timesheet. Danny Kent begins Australian Grand Prix as fastest rider of the day.
A week on from the Japanese round at Motegi, a completely different Phillip Island circuit welcomed Danny Kent as fastest rider on the first day of the Australian Grand Prix. The Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo kept up a consistent pace throughout the day, setting his quickest lap in the first free practice session. It was also in that session that Niklas Ajo put in the lap that placed him eighth on the combined timesheet.
The Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo rider started the weekend strong, putting in some fast laps early on –as has been his strategy of late. Second in the first half of the session, Ajo finished fourth with a 1:37.240 time, as Kent led the opening 40 minutes. The Briton led the way with 4 minutes remaining –1:36.906–, completing two consecutive fastest laps.
In the afternoon, the Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider kept up his pace during the first half hour. Keeping on using old tyres, Kent finished the session in fifth place, unable to lower his morning time with a best of 1:37.149. Less than three tenths off –1:37.418– was Niklas Ajo who was affected by the high winds so characteristic of this track.
Tomorrow’s qualifying session will start an hour later than usual, at 1.35pm local time. For the Briton, he will be chasing his second consecutive pole position following his first top spot of the year last time out in Japan.
Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Danny Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo) 1:36.906
2. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:37.033 +0.127
3. Efren Vazquez (Honda) 1:37.065 +0.159
4. Juanfran Guevara (Kalex KTM) 1:37.077 +0.171
5. Brad Binder (Mahindra) 1:37.086 +0.180
8. Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo) 1:37.240 +0.334
Niklas Ajo >> Audio (solely for radio use)
”Today we managed to find a good feeling with the bike and with my riding, because I felt quite comfortable. We were able to be high up the order, but in the second session it was difficult to lower our times because the wind was blowing more strongly. In the first session I set my best time on the first run and we found a good slipstream. In the afternoon, although we did not lower our times, I think we improved a lot. Tomorrow we will push more and see what happens.”
Danny Kent >> Audio (solely for radio use)
”Today was another very productive day for us. We were the fastest in the morning and also in the combined timesheet. In the second session we did not put new tyres on, so I set my best time with tyres that had 19 laps in them and were already pretty worn. Still, we were very close to the top in the second session. For tomorrow we may make some small changes to the bike, but I was very happy with our performance today.