Good feeling and pace for Avant Tecno KTM rider on opening day of Australian GP.
Niklas Ajo today set the tenth fastest time –1:38.725– in the combined timesheets for the first and second free practice sessions of the Australian Grand Prix. The Avant Tecno KTM rider quickly found a good feeling and a good setup, which allowed him to make the most of every minute on track. The difference between riders was minimal and Ajo was just 527 milliseconds off the top time, set by Maverick Viñales.
Phillip Island is a track that Niklas Ajo likes, and this was shown in the opening minutes of the first free practice session when he led the timesheets. Avant Tecno KTM rider lapped quickly, adapting fast to the typical winds which reached some 29 km/h. He set his best lap of 1:39.256 for fourteenth place. A mistake in the final minute prevented him from once again lowering his best time.
He did manage to lower that time in the second free practice session. Comfortable on his KTM, the Finn improved early and has spent the rest of the session looking for a good pace with the focus on Sunday’s race. The results were very positive. With a best lap of 1:38.725, the Avant Tecno KTM rider took ninth place on the timesheets. Eventually, a light crash with three minutes left in the session terminated his working day ahead of schedule.
In qualifying tomorrow, Niklas’ main aim will be to take a position higher than his fifth row placing from last season.
Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Maverick Viñales (KTM) 1:38.198
2. Jonas Folger (Kalex KTM) 1:38.220 +0.022
3. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (KTM) 1:38.224 +0.026
4. Luis Salom (KTM) 1:38.235 +0.037
5. Niccolo Antonelli (FTR Honda) 1:38.383 +0.185
10. Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno KTM) 1:38.725 +0.527
Niklas Ajo >> Audio (English) // Audio (Finnish)
”I think today in Australia we had a good first day of the Grand Prix. During the first session I had a good feeling from the start. I was able to go fast and set my best times on the early laps, but at the end I could not improve because I ran off-track at Turn 1 and got the tyres dirty. In the afternoon I had a good feeling, riding alone for most of the session. I made a long run in order to prepare for the race and was able to set a good pace –the tyres responded well. At the end I made a mistake and I suffered a small crash, but escaped uninjured. I’m happy with the results today –now I have to keep working for tomorrow and rest up.”
*Audio solely for radio use