Despite his broken foot Niklas Ajo qualified 16th on hot Sepang circuit when season´s 15th Moto3 GP qualifying practice was held in Malaysia. Ajo crashed with his KTM-bike during the morning´s free practice session and it was later discovered that there is a hairline fracture in his left metatarsus.
“Pretty good result comparing to difficult circumstances”, Ajo says, “What will make the riding difficult is that I have to work harder with my left foot while riding. They taped my foot for the qualifying and it really was quite painful. For Sunday we have to anesthetize it and just hope and believe that it will last until the end of the 18-laps´ race. I can´t do anything but fight.”
In the qualifying practice Ajo rode the 5,5 kilometres long Sepang circuit nine times.
“In the beginning of the session there were still damp patches on the track so I tried to save the power of my foot. In the end the qualifying went just ok even if I didn´t ride that many laps.”
The Finn´s fastest lap was 2.16,142, which was eight tenths of a second faster than his time in the free practice session.
Ajo admits that he had to consider whether to attend the qualifying after the crash.
“When I came out from the curve the rear wheel of the bike slid out from under me and then I fell. I was for a long in the paddock hospital as they suspected that I had a concussion. In the beginning I didn´t even remember properly how the crash happened.
“I returned from the paddock hospital back to the box just before the qualifying and we wondered whether I should go to the track at all. But I decided to try and it was a good decision”, says Ajo.
The pole position was taken by a Finnish team Ajo Motorsport´s KTM-rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin with a top time of 2.13,888. Khairuddin organized himself an unforgettable 21st birthday gift in front of his home crowd, as the pole was the first of his career.
Khairuddin´s German teammate, championship leader Sandro Cortese was third, 0,714 seconds from Khairuddin.
MALAYSIAN MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX
Moto3 Qualifying Practice Classification:
1. Zulfahmi Khairuddin Malaysia, AirAsia-Sic-Ajo, KTM 2.13,885
2. Jonas Folger Germany, Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3, Kalex KTM + 0,266
3. Sandro Cortese Germany, Red Bull KTM Ajo, KTM + 0,714
4. Louis Rossi France, Racing Team Germany, FTR Honda + 0,796
5. Luis Salom Spain, RW Racing GP, Kalex KTM + 0,932
6. Miguel Oliveira Portugal, Estrella Galicia 0,0, Suter Honda + 1,431
7. Efren Vazquez Spain, JHK t-shirt Laglisse, FTR Honda + 1,481
8. Brad Binder South Africa, RW Racing GP, Kalex KTM + 1,584
9. Alex Rins Spain, Estrella Galicia 0,0, Suter Honda + 1,929
10. Adrian Martin Spain, JHK t-shirt Laglisse, FTR Honda + 1,973
11. Danny Kent Great Britain, Red Bull KTM Ajo, KTM + 2,012
12. Niccolo Antonelli Italy, San Carlo Gresini Moto3, FTR Honda + 2,028
13. Alessandro Tonucci Italy, Team Italia FMI, FTR Honda + 2,030
14. Jakub Kornfeil Czech, Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta, FTR Honda + 2,202
15. Alberto Moncayo Spain, Andalucia JHK t-shirt Laglisse, FTR Honda + 2,223
16. Niklas Ajo Finland, TT Motion Events Racing, KTM + 2,257
21. Arthur Sissis Australia, Red Bull KTM Ajo, KTM + 2,765