Niklas Ajo will start the historical Moto3 season at Losail circuit from the fifth place on the grid on Sunday in Qatar. The qualifying result is 17-year-old Ajo´s best so far.
– Yeah, just ok, Ajo expressed his sentiment his calm typical way.
– Sure this is a good position but we should remember that there is still a race ahead of us. I will keep my head cool and take it easy at least in the beginning of the race avoiding mistakes. Of course the qualifying position helps me to ride amongst the top group but still I won´t take any stress for success.
The solution with the clutch
helped improve the speed
Ajo who competes with a KTM factory bike made his fastest lap on Saturday´s qualifying with a time of 2.08,734. The timing was perfect because that was by far the best time for the Finnish youngster during the GP weekend of Qatar.
– Already on Friday night and Saturday morning we managed to solve problems with the clutch, that have caused us troubles during the whole test season and also during the first days here in Qatar. The riders who ride with KTM´s factory bikes have tried to switch to lower gears in a wrong way. It seems that no one knew the actual idea of slipper clutch and how it really works the best possible way.
– Now that we figured that out, at least for me the feeling for riding and my speed improved. I was able to brake later and went into the curves better way, Ajo described.
The 32 riders of the Moto3 class also had a warm up-session after the qualifying, which Ajo also managed to do fine being eight with a time of 2.09,644.
– We managed to change and improve the engine braking. In that sense it was just a good session. I crashed once but harmfully with worn tyres. The front end of my bike just slipped under me.
Pole position for Cortese
The pole position at Qatar GP went to Finnish Team Ajo Motorsport´s KTM´s official factory rider German Sandro Cortese with a time of 2.08,188. Ajo who was during his first full time GP season at his best twice 14th at Sachsenring in Germany and at Brno in Czech trailed Cortese by 0,546 seconds.
Cortese who took the fourth pole position of his career will be accompanied in the first row by Spanish Maverick Vinales and French Louis Rossi. Vinales was only 16 thousandths of seconds behind Cortese.
From the second row with Ajo will start Spanish Luis Salom and Italian Romano Fenati for the season opener that starts on Sunday at 7pm.
COMMERCIALBANK GRAND PRIX OF QATAR
Moto2 Qualifying Practice Classification:
1. Sandro Cortese Germany, Red Bull KTM Ajo, KTM 2.08,188
2. Maverick Vinales Spain, Blusens Avintia, FTR Honda + 0,016
3. Louis Rossi France, Racing Team Germany, FTR Honda + 0,115
4. Luis Salom Spain, RW Racing GP, Kalex KTM + 0,378
5. Niklas Ajo Finland, TT Motion Events Racing, KTM + 0,546
6. Romano Fenati Italy, Team Italia FMI, FTR Honda + 0,611
7. Zulfahmi Khairuddin Malaysia, AirAsia-Sic-Ajo, KTM + 0,659
8. Miguel Oliveira Portugal, Estrella Galicia 0,0, Honda + 0,738
9. Arthur Sissis Australia, Red Bull KTM Ajo, KTM + 0,813
10. Alexis Masbou France, Caretta Technology, Honda + 0,919
11. Alessandro Tonucci Italy, Team Italia FMI, FTR Honda + 0,931
12. Danny Kent Great Britain, Red Bull KTM Ajo, KTM + 0,938
13. Alex Rins Spain, Estrella Galicia 0,0, Honda + 0,951
14. Alberto Moncayo Spain, Bankia Aspar Team, Kalex KTM + 1,182
15. Brad Binder South Africa, RW Racing GP, Kalex KTM + 1,372
The full qualifying result: