Adverse weather takes centre stage on the opening day of the San Marino and Riviera di Rimini GP, in which Danny Kent places eighth and Niklas Ajo eleventh.
Cut tyres, clear helmet visors and red lights on the Moto3 machines were the order of the day on Friday at the Misano World Circuit. Danny Kent and Niklas Ajo had their first full day of wet practices so far this year to open the weekend. Both found a good feeling in the difficult conditions, finally taking eighth and eleventh place in the combined timesheet for the day.
The first practice session for the Husqvarna riders in San Marino saw the duo have 40 minutes in which to regain their feel for wet conditions. Niklas Ajo was the fastest to adapt, riding with the frontrunners from the opening stages until a small crash at Turn 15 ended his morning with 9 minutes to go. He took the eleventh best time of 1:58.795. Meanwhile, Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider Kent climbed to eighth place with a 1:58.333 lap.
With a setup tested in the wet, the Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo rider decided against taking risks in a second session held under heavy rain. He stayed in the garage, whilst Kent went out with 12 minutes remaining in order to improve some aspects pending from the morning. He would conclude the day with an improved feeling and the seventh best lap of the session: 2:00.645.
At 12:35pm tomorrow at the Misano World Circuit Misano Simoncelli, the qualifying session that will decide the starting grid Sunday will get underway. In his two appearances at this track in the lower cylinder class, Danny Kent has always taken a place on the second row.
Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Alex Rins (Honda) 1:55.049
2. Niccolo Antonelli (KTM) 1:56.103 +1.054
3. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:56.334 +1.285
4. Andrea Locatelli (Mahindra) 1:57.562 +2.513
5. Alex Marquez (Honda) 1:57.728 +2.679
8. Danny Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo) 1:58.333 +3.284
11. Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo) 1:58.795 +3.746
Niklas Ajo >> Audio (solely for radio use)
”This morning I had a good feeling on the bike, despite the crash I had shortly before the end of the session. I honestly do not know exactly why I crashed. The track is very slippery, as shown today with all the crashes that occurred in all three categories. If it rains during the race, I think we can do well.
In the second session I thought it best not to go out, as many riders had fallen down. I did not want to risk it. We tried to see how others did and, if necessary, we will use data from those who did go out, so I’m sure we will be fine. Hopefully tomorrow and Sunday are dry, like the weather forecast says.”
Danny Kent >> Audio (solely for radio use)
”It was the first time this year in which we were able to ride with the Husqvarna on a completely wet track. The feeling with heavy rain was not bad. Still, I did not want to take too many risks, because the forecast for the remainder of the weekend is for it to be dry. I wanted to go out for a few laps to get a feel for it, both with the bike and with the track, but didn’t want to take risks.
At the end of the second session we decided to go out, because there were some aspects from the morning that we wanted to improve upon and we also wanted to test the changes we had made. They worked well for the ten minutes I was on track.”