Niklas Ajo earns sixth row start in wet qualifying


Avant Tecno KTM rider seventeenth quickest in session held at wet Motegi.

After the cancelation of the first three sessions of the Japanese Grand Prix, the weather finally allowed the Moto3 riders to contest qualifying on Saturday. On a totally wet surface, Niklas Ajo worked hard to earn a place on the sixth row of the grid for tomorrow. His best lap of 2:12.236 was the seventeenth quickest on the timesheets.

Intermittent rain and a wet track made things difficult at Motegi for Niklas Ajo and the rest of the Moto3 riders in a qualifying session longer than previously scheduled, lasting 55 minutes. The Avant Tecno KTM rider took things with caution and tried to find his feel for the track lap after lap. In his final outing, Niklas lowered his times on four consecutive occasions to score a last lap of 2:12.236 –enough for seventeenth position.

The penultimate race of the year will be held tomorrow from 11.00am local time. Weather forecasts predict a dry race.

Results (Qualifying practice)
1. Alex Rins (KTM) 2:09.387
2. Maverick Viñales (KTM) 2:10.310 +0.923
3. Alex Marquez (KTM) 2:10.313 +0.926
4. Luis Salom (KTM) 2:10.656 +1.269
5. Jack Miller (FTR Honda) 2:10.671 +1.269
17. Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno KTM) 2:12.236 +2.849

Niklas Ajo >> Audio (English) // Audio (Finnish)
”This weekend has been a little strange so far. We’ve not had any free practice session and we rode for the first time in the qualifying session under lots of rain. I started with caution –more than usual– as if in a free practice session. I possibly should have upped the pace at the end of the session, because I had nothing to lose, but it was important to put in the maximum number of laps possible. The difference to the front runners is big, but we’ll see tomorrow what conditions we have for the race.”

*Audio solely for radio use