Finn takes eighth fastest time on the opening day of the Italian Grand Prix. Danny Kent places twenty-first.
The World Championship has moved on from France to Italy, but the feeling for Niklas Ajo onboard his Husqvarna remains equally as good. The Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo rider took the eighth fastest time on the combined standing for the the first and second practices at Mugello. Danny Kent had chattering issues and placed twenty-first on a day which ended early due to rain.
A good feeling and interesting findings were what Danny Kent and Niklas Ajo took from the first practice session, marked by a cloudy sky and the threat of rain. The Briton was thirteenth with a 2:00.006 lap, and the Finn was fourteenth with a best time of 2:00.074. They put in sixteen and eighteen laps, respectively, in search of a completely different setup to that used at Le Mans.
In the afternoon the first drops of rain ended the opening day 7 minutes ahead of time. Before that, Niklas improved his morning best lap three times, settling on a 1:59.085 that placed him seventh. He was just 0.372s off the top spot. Meanwhile, the Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider was unable to lower his time, going twenty-fourth with a 2:00.243 and suffering from a chattering issue.
The last free practice and qualifying session take place on Saturday. Niklas Ajo is looking to repeat the second row he claimed at Le Mans -a position Danny Kent took at the track in 2012. The best grid spot for a Husqvarna rider so far this season is the third position for Kent in Argentina.
Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Alex Marquez (Honda) 1:58.713
2. Romano Fenati (KTM) 1:58.714 +0.001
3. Alex Rins (Honda) 1:58.757 +0.044
4. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:58.783 +0.070
5. Juanfran Guevara (Kalex KTM) 1:59.021 +0.308
8. Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo) 1:59.085 +0.372
21. Danny Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo) 2:00.006 +1.293
Niklas Ajo – Audio solely radio use – Audio
”I think today was quite similar to all the first days at other Grands Prix that we have had this season. The feeling was already good this morning, and from the first runout on track I was able to set very consistent lap times. This is difficult, because the setup is very different to that at Le Mans -since we are talking about very different circuit characteristics. The problem this morning was that I had no slipstream, so the lap times were pretty slow but the pace and cornering was very good. In the afternoon I went out together with Jack [Miller] and we were able to ride very fast and learn a lot. We also improved on the back of the bike because we had the used tyres on. The feeling is not bad, but we have to keep working, look at the telemetry and try to go better tomorrow.”
Danny Kent – Audio solely for radio use – Audio
”It was not the best start to the weekend, basically because we suffered a lot of chattering. We must find the solution for that tomorrow. We’re working hard and we have to keep doing so, because I’m sure that eventually we will find the best setup possible. The feeling today is different from the first day at Le Mans, as this is the first time we have suffered chatter this year. Both in the morning and the afternoon the feeling was similar, so I have to work this afternoon for tomorrow to leave that behind me. Today we did not get a good time, but tomorrow we will work to get up to the front”.