Niklas Ajo begins season motivated and out for improvement, on the comeback trail after a knee injury.
Niklas Ajo begins his second Grand Prix season after a difficult winter, in which he has had to recover from a knee injury. The Finn is preparing for a good start to the year and has had positive impressions from the first few tests with his new bike. Now a sophomore rider, Ajo is aiming to take points in as many Moto3 races as possible.
It’s been a hard winter after your injury. How much did you want to get started with this preseason?
”A lot. This winter has been a little difficult, since my knee injury has not allowed me to train at my fullest. In fact, a month ago I did not know if I could compete, but in the end everything went well and I am very happy to be a World Championship rider. The knee is getting better every day, but we still have to wait and be patient, to see how it develops over the next few tests.”
How do you feel after the first tests in Valencia and Jerez?
”The general feeling is good. Although the tests have not been perfect, they have been useful for getting laps under our belts and adapting to the new bike. The most important thing now is to accumulate experience, evaluate the feeling with the KTM and adapt to its setup.”
How do you think you will be when the first Grand Prix comes around?
”I think I’ll be in good shape. We still need to continue working on the setup of the bike, but we have time and we are keen to do well. I am optimistic about the start of this season and I think I can ride at a good level.”
Last year you were a regular points scorer. What goals do you have for this year?
”The goal is to be better than last season. My resolution is to become more consistent and score points at every race possible. I’d like to finish in the top 10 overall at the end of the season.”
What have you learnt from last season?
”I have learnt to relax, to be calmer. I know that last season I had too many crashes and some small incidents that will not be repeated this year. It is important to remain calm and I have learnt to do that, so hopefully that will help me when riding the bike and with preventing crashes.”
In terms of riding, in what areas do you think you can improve?
”I have to improve my bike control under braking. Last season I had a few problems with that and had lots of riders overtaking me on the brakes.”
It’s your second year in Moto3, do you think this year will be even more competitive than last year?
”I don’t know if it will be more or less competitive compared with last season. What is clear is that, in general, the level will be higher and therefore it will be harder to get good points and positions in races.”
What is the most important thing in order to be one of the top riders?
”I guess it is important to have a good bike, with good team behind you and some good adjustments –and to make good starts. It is essential to be calm on the bike whilst also having that aggression needed to race at the front, because the category is so competitive.”