Salom overcomes wind, sand and rain to top Qatar timesheet


Red Bull KTM Ajo rider again sets best time of the night in Losail. Arthur Sissis and Zulfahmi Khairuddin place seventeenth and eighteenth, respectively.


In the final session of practice for the Qatar Grand Prix, the weather complicated conditions more than expected. Gusts of wind reaching some 30km/h, sand covering the Qatari circuit and a light spot of rain late on impeded the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders and the rest of the Moto3 field. Luis Salom clocked the fastest time of the night ─as he did yesterday─ with a 2’08.167. Arthur Sissis’ 2’10.524 lap put him seventeenth, and Zulfahmi Khairuddin placed eighteenth with a 2’10.861.

Weather and track conditions did not allow the three Red Bull KTM Ajo riders to improve at the same pace as yesterday. Only two riders from the lower cylinder class were able to go faster than they had done on night 1. Arthur Sissis was the closest of the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders to do so, ending the night just 4 tenths of a second off his previous best. Luis Salom’s twelfth lap saw him back on flying form, leading the way with a 0.442 advantage over the second quickest man. Zulfahmi Khairuddin continued to improve lap-by-lap, taking his best time on the penultimate of his 13 times round in the 40 minute session.

Tonight’s action concluded the free practice sessions for the opening race. Tomorrow there will be only a qualifying session to decide the grid and a warmup in which to make the final race preparations. From there, the riders will be straight out on track for the race on Sunday.

Results (FP3)
1. Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:08.167
2. Alex Rins (KTM) 2:08.609 +0.442
3. Jonas Folger (Kalex-KTM) 2:08.656 +0.489
4. Jack Miller (FTR-Honda) 2:09.083 +0.916
5. Efren Vazquez (Mahindra) 2:09.260 +1.093
17. Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:10.524 +2.357
18. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:10.861 +2.694

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2-FP3)
1. Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:07.341
2. Jonas Folger (Kalex-KTM) 2:07.633 +0.292
3. Alex Rins (KTM) 2:07.968 +0.627
4. Alex Marquez (KTM) 2:08.351 +1.010
5. Niccolo Antonelli (FTR-Honda) 2:08.543 +1.202
14. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:09.073 +1.732
22. Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:10.113 +2.772

Luis Salom >> Audio
“I think that, once again, the entire team have done a good job. Yesterday we got a good time and today it was a little more difficult, because the track wasn’t in good condition. In any case, on the final lap we were on for a 2’07 ─a good time─ before I ran into a lot of traffic. I am happy, because we had a good pace and have been working well up to now. I have to make the most of the opportunity that I have in this team and give my all.”

Arthur Sissis >> Audio
“The feeling was better than yesterday. The weather wasn’t the best today for going out riding, but we were still able to improve a few aspects of the bike and my riding. Although I wasn’t much faster than in other sessions, I felt much more comfortable and that is very important for tomorrow’s qualifying run.”

Zulfahmi Khairuddin >> Audio (English) // Audio (Malaysian)
“The track was very dirty today, with a lot of sand. We didn’t have too good weather, either, with even a spot of rain. That meant that on every corner of every lap the grip wasn’t so good. I never found the idea moment to push hard. We didn’t have much useful time available in which to adjust the setup for qualifying, but I am convinced that the setting of our bike is good. Tomorrow I will work hard in order to take the best possible grid position.”


* Audios solely for radio use