Salom sets the pace on opening night in Qatar


Red Bull KTM Ajo rider goes fastest in first free practice session. Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Arthur Sissis take 14th and 22nd best times of the night.


The lights of the Losail International Circuit were switched on tonight to begin the 2013 Moto3 World Championship. The Red Bull KTM Ajo team began work with their KTM machines in the best way possible, with the best time of the night going to Luis Salom: 2’07.341. His teammates, Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Arthur Sissis, were 14th and 22nd quickest, respectively.

The season officially started at 18:00, local time, for the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders. High temperatures of up to 27ºC and sand blown onto the circuit made the first 40 minutes of practice difficult for the riders. The session served as sighting for the riders as they reacquainted themselves with their machinery and their KTM bikes. It finished with Luis Salom placing third with a 2’09.514 lap. Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Arthur Sissis were 13th and 23rd, respectively.

The good work paid off in the second session of the day. All three Red Bull KTM Ajo riders needed only 10 minutes in which to significantly improve their times from the first session. Salom flew on his penultimate lap to stop the clock at 2’07.341, whilst Zulfahmi Khairuddin set a 2’09.073 lap and Sissis a 2’10.113 on the fourth lap out.
Work will continue tomorrow, with the third and final free practice session for first round on the 2013 calendar.

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
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 we did a good job right from the opening session. Even though we didn’t get our best lap, the pace was what we were after. In the final run out we continued working very well, and we got a fast lap in. I was looking at the times from the various sectors of the track, and I think that we can still improve on some corners ─so tomorrow we will try to take another step forward.”

Arthur Sissis >> Audio
“Today the final position wasn’t great, but the day wasn’t all bad. We worked on some changes for the bike and things improved in the second session, although I think that we can still improve more tomorrow. I hope that in the remaining free practice we can take a step forward.”

Zulfahmi Khairuddin >> Audio (English)  // Audio (Malaysian)
“Today was a good day. I felt comfortable on the bike. I feel good and I think that I can lower my lap time tomorrow. We are on a good track with our work on the setup, although I realised today that I need to be more aggressive when cornering. In general, I am happy with this first day of practice.”



* Audios solely for radio use