Positive start for Niklas Ajo in Austin


Avant Tecno KTM rider marks first appearance at Circuit of The Americas with thirteenth fastest time in Moto3, after two practice sessions.


Niklas Ajo this Friday completed two practice sessions at the Circuit of The Americas, which debuts on the Moto3 World Championship calendar this season. The Avant Tecno KTM rider ended the day with a positive feeling about his first encounter with the Austin track. He put in 30 laps, 166km and the 13th fastest time.

At 9am, local time, the green light of the Circuit of The Americas pit lane went on to signal the start of the Moto3 run. It was the first ever World Championship session held at the track, and Moto3 was in charge of debuting the asphalt. Niklas Ajo was one of those riding on a very complete circuit, featuring three distinctly technical sections. In the morning session, the Finnish rider took the eleventh fastest time —2’23.596— after 15 laps (83km) on his machine.

Niklas Ajo put in the same distance in the second session. With an idea about the track already in his mind, the Avant Tecno KTM rider continued searching for the fastest available line on a 15 metre-wide riding surface. His best lap was clocked on his final time around: 2’20.969.

The third free practice session will take place tomorrow morning. Niklas Ajo will attempt to improve his setup and then take on qualifying with a best performance on American soil —15th on the grid at Indianapolis in 2011— in his sights.

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Maverick Viñales (KTM) 2:18.254
2. Alex Rins (KTM) 2:18.793 +0.539
3. Luis Salom (KTM) 2:18.815 +0.561
4. Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra) 2:19.606 +1.352
5. Romano Fenati (FTR Honda) 2:19.722 +1.468
13. Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno KTM) 2:20.969 +2.715

Niklas Ajo  >> Audio (English) // Audio (Finnish)
”It is a really difficult track, so we devoted the day to learning the circuit and looking for some adjustments. It is a complicated track because it is really intended for cars, with some really slow corners in which you have to brake very hard and then let go of them to let the bike go. That makes it difficult to find the best setup combination, but tomorrow we will try to improve and I hope for a step forward.”

* Audio solely for radio use