Red Bull KTM Ajo keep taking preseason form forward


Luis Salom, Arthur Sissis and Zulfahmi Khairuddin make the most of excellent conditions to draw important conclusions at Jerez.


The three Red Bull KTM Ajo riders enjoyed a day of dry practice in Jerez. The sun came out early at the Spanish track, and allowed for an intense workload of testing different settings on the KTM bikes to be carried out –with one eye on the upcoming Grand Prix of Qatar. Luis Salom, Arthur Sissis and Zulfahmi Khairuddin all improved their best times in each of the sessions.

Fine weather was present from the early morning at the Circuito de Jerez. Nevertheless, the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders preferred to wait until 11.30am to leave the garage, waiting on an increase in track temperature to 27ºC.  The first of the trio to go out was Spanish rider Luis Salom, with a run of four laps that put him to the head of the timesheet. Arthur Sissis and Zulfahmi Khairuddin waited an extra half-hour to get on their KTM bikes. The session helped them to regain a feel for dry weather after yesterday’s washout.

In the second session, with track temperatures up by ten degrees, Luis Salom went out on track determined to continue his progression. The Spanish rider put in 10 laps that served to give him the top time of 1’47.792. Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Arthur Sissis also lowered their times from the first session, as all three riders started to prepare settings for the first Grand Prix of the year, in Qatar.

To end the day, the Red Bull KTM Ajo trio continued to improve their one-off lap times. Zulfahmi Khairuddin was the rider to put in the most laps, with 30.  Salom rode 18 and Sissis 12. The combined standings for the three sessions had Salom fourth fastest (1’47.094), Sissis tenth quickest (1’47.861) and Zulfahmi Khairuddin sixteenth (1’48.316).

The Red Bull KTM Ajo team will conclude their preseason with a fourth day of testing on Thursday –one which will conclude at midday.

1. Maverick Viñales (KTM) 1:46.603
2. Álex Rins (KTM) 1:46.689 +0.086
3. Jonas Folger (Kalex-KTM) 1:47.010 +0.407
4. Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:47.094 +0.491
5. Brad Binder (Suter-Honda) 1:47.701 +1.098
10. Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:47.861 +1.258
16. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:48.316 +1.713

Luis Salom >> Audio
“It’s been a good day. We had a few problems, but we were able to solve them. I realised today the reasons why I am best off riding with this team; I saw that this is the team that I needed behind me a long time ago. I was surprised at how much work they were able to carry out. They made some changes with the setup in a very short amount of time, so that I could at least put in eight laps. I was left speechless. I want to thank them, because they give 100% every minute so that the bike and I are good together. I have to say that this was a positive day for us.”

Arthur Sissis >> Audio
“I am happy, because I wasn’t expecting to ride a 1’47. We didn’t start so well, we made some changes from Monday and in the end had to go back to the setup from two days ago. From that base we tried some different changes and I began to feel better on the bike. I feel pretty good. I wasn’t able to put in as many laps as I would have liked, because we tried a lot of things with our focus on Qatar. Tomorrow we will try to improve my riding and some other small things, and I think that we will go much better.”

Zulfahmi Khairuddin >> Audio // Audio (Malaysian)
“Today the weather was really good and we were able to improve upon our times from yesterday -although the other riders also went faster. The important thing is that we are on the right path and will continue working on the chassis setup to keep improving. I am not satisfied with today’s result, but tomorrow we will have another opportunity to get better and improve our lap times.”