Niklas Ajo and Danny Kent will start in seventh and eleventh positions, respectively, for the final race of the season this weekend at Valencia.
While yesterday was not as successful as they had hoped, Niklas Ajo and Danny Kent took advantage of the two sessions today to improve on the setup of their Husqvarna machines ahead of tomorrow’s race. During the timed qualifying held today at the Valencia circuit, Niklas Ajo managed to land a third row position, starting from the seventh spot on the grid, while the Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider Kent will start from the fourth in eleventh position.
Both Niklas Ajo and Danny Kent made significant improvements during the last 40 minutes of free practice. Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo rider worked with Jack Miller from the middle of the session, positioning himself among the fastest of the pack. Ajo improved on his previous best time to finish the session in sixth position with a time of 1:39.402. The British rider also improved on his previous efforts during the third practice, climbing to eleventh place with a time of 1:39.731.
While the wind impeded improving on morning lap times during the afternoon, it did not stop the first 18 riders from qualifying within just one second of each other. In this tight qualifying session, Niklas Ajo completed his best lap with five minutes to go, setting his best time of 1:39.750, which eventually placed him seventh on the grid. Kent ranked eleventh –with a 1:39.923– and expects to further improve during tomorrow’s warmup.
The eighteenth and final race of the 2014 season will take place tomorrow at 11:00 CET. Niklas Ajo and Danny Kent will attempt to finish on the best note possible for their fourth full seasons in the World Championship.
Results – Qualifying practice
1. Niccolo Antonelli (KTM) 1:39.183
2. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:39.251 +0.068
3. Alex Marquez (Honda) 1:39.556 +0.373
4. Isaac Viñales (KTM) 1:39.637 +0.454
5. Alex Rins (Honda) 1:39.716 +0.533
7. Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo) 1:39.750 +0.567
11. Danny Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo) 1:39.923 +0.740
Niklas Ajo >> Audio (solely for radio use)
”We are happy with this seventh position because we are close to the front. To start in the top 10 is always positive for the race, though we believe we could have improved a bit on the time, but I think we have a good pace for the race. This morning we were consistent, I just hope the weather is with us tomorrow and the wind does not blow too much. If so, I think I can stay in the front pack and try to help Jack [Miller] get the World Championship.”
Danny Kent >> Audio (solely for radio use)
”This weekend has been very difficult for me. The feel of the bike isn’t as good as it has been in the last five or six races. Though we can’t rule out anything for tomorrow, because the lap times are still close. This is a track where it’s possible to form a good group and there will be a lot of overtaking. The important thing is to have a good start and stay with the front group. One positive point is that we haven’t noticed a difference between a new tyre and a worn tyre much, so the strategy will be something similar to what we did in Sepang, where we were stronger toward the end of the race. We’ll see what happens.”