Niklas Ajo fastest on day one in Catalonia

13.06.2014

Husqvarna rider achieves personal best Moto3 practice placing with quickest time of the day. Danny Kent goes 15th fastest.

DG2_6603

The World Championship has moved from Mugello in Italy to Montmelo on the outskirts of Barcelona. The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya today hosted the first two free practice sessions, in which Niklas Ajo was the fastest rider. This was the best result for the Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo rider in a World Championship session. Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo’s Danny Kent was fifteenth overall on a swelteringly hot day on track.

The Finnish Husqvarna rider again proved that this season he is up to the challenge at every circuit. At what was in theory a less favourable track for him, Niklas Ajo produced his best performance of the season to date. In the morning he set the eighth quickest time of 1:52.671, allowing him to confidently face the afternoon session. After continually pushing at the front, he ended the day with a magnificent 1:51.930 lap to take the top spot.

Danny Kent also made a good start to the weekend. Using the setup found on the day of testing at Mugello, he finished eleventh in the morning runout with a 1:52.838 lap. Whilst he felt comfortable and went fast in that session, in the afternoon changes made did not improve things for him and he was eighteenth in the second outing. His top afternoon time was 1:53.298.

Tomorrow sees the final free practice session for the Moto3 class, before the qualifying session that will define the positions on the grid for Sunday’s race.

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo) 1:51.930
2. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:51.944 +0.014
3. Isaac Viñales (KTM) 1:51.945 +0.015
4. Romano Fenati (KTM) 1:51.952 +0.022
5. Niccolo Antonelli (KTM) 1:52.177 +0.247
15. Danny Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo) 1:52.838 +0.908

 

Niklas Ajo >> Audio (solely for radio use)

”This morning I started with a very good feeling with the bike. My team and I are working very well. We still have to improve in some aspects like on the fast corners, but I think we can solve the issues for tomorrow and then see what happens in the qualifying session. We cannot get too confident, because it is just a free practice session and there are many riders who are trying to find a good feeling with the bike for the race still. But today’s result gives us a clue that we can have a fast pace on Sunday.

The qualifying session will be tough tomorrow, because it is very hot and the other riders are going to be pushing a lot. We will have to work hard to get a good time in the session that allows us to be up in the front pack during the race.”

Danny Keny >> Audio (solely for radio use)

”We have started much better than at Mugello. Today we started from the base setup found at the Mugello test and were quite fast. In the afternoon, in FP2, we made some changes to the bike that made us go a little slower and did not give us the same feeling as in the morning, so we will go back to the initial setup.

Tomorrow we have a plan that we will continue, so I think we will improve a lot. I feel pretty confident, but we’ll see what happens.”