The Red Bull KTM Ajo factory team wrapped up four days of final Moto3 tests on Thursday at the Jerez racing circuit in Spain with team boss Aki Ajo well satisfied with his riders and machinery.
At the end of the final session, it was the team’s Luis Salom who topped the chart of collective lap times with 1m 46.374, 0.236 in front of KTM rider Alex Rins with Alex Marquez, also on KTM, was third fastest. Six of the top 10 riders were on KTM-driven machinery.
Even though the first two days of the tests were hampered by bad weather, Ajo said he was happy with both the KTM machinery and his riders. “We have all been working very hard over the past two months and many thanks to KTM who have done a great job and have come up with many new parts. The new bike was already good but we have managed to make even more improvements to it. We were able to give our riders some free test time on the track and I think we’ve got a good basic setup for all our riders.”
Ajo said Salom would do some more testing together with KTM next week in Estoril while Australian Arthur Sissis, who rode in his debut season in 2012 was going ice racing with Ajo and his son and fellow Moto3 racer Niklas Ajo next week. Teams and riders have only a short time to recharge personal batteries before the first GP in Qatar in the first weekend in April. Immediately after the close of tests, the factory team was busy preparing flight crates for machinery and equipment, which leave this week for the first race.
“Arthur (Sissis) has matured a lot during the winter and he is now much more professional. He already has a good feeling for the bike and I believe he is a real race rider,” he said. Zulfahmi Khairuddin, the team’s Malaysian rider who had a great second half of the season in 2012 was also in good form, Ajo said. “Fahmi takes a little longer time to prepare, He is getting on well with the new bike and he always starts carefully.”
Apart from the KTM factory team, Spanish KTM riders Alex Rins and Alex Marquez, younger brother to MotoGP rider Marc Marquez, who also entered his career riding KTM in the former 125 cc class, also had impressive times. German Jonas Folger was consistently among the leaders on his Kalex-KTM and Spanish rider Maverick Vinales was also impressive on his KTM machine. Vinales did not ride on the final half day of tests following a spill on Wednesday where he injured his hand. The injury is said to involve some lacerations and bruising and will not keep him from the starting grid for the opening night race in Qatar on April 7, 2013
Combined test times – tests in Jerez
1, Luis Salom Spain, KTM, 1m 46.374s
2, Alex Rins, Spain, KTM, 1:46.610
3, Alex Marquez, Spain, KTM, 1:46.986
5, Jonas Folger, Germany, Kalex-KTM, 1:47.702
8, Jakub Kornfeil, Czech Republic, Kalex-KTM, 1:48.168
9, Zulfahmi Khairuddin, Malaysia, KTM, 1:48.191
13, Arthur Sissis, Australia, KTM, 1:48.607
Image courtesy KTM