Red Bull KTM Ajo return to Europe01/05/2013
Moto3 World Championship returns to Europe for first of this season’s four Spanish rounds. Salom, check Sissis and Zulfahmi Khairuddin take on latest challenge after strong opening two races.
The Red Bull KTM Ajo team arrive at Jerez with one of their riders, buy Luis Salom, leading the standings. After a maiden race at the Circuit of The Americas, the Spanish rider and teammates Arthur Sissis and Zulfahmi Khairuddin will share a track once more at the scene of a great preseason test. The Red Bull KTM Ajo will be looking to add a further podium to the fifteen that they have taken in consecutive races, stretching back to the 2012 Catalan GP.
The most recent two of those rostrums were taken by Luis Salom, who leads the Moto3 World Championship with 41 points. He is level on points with fellow Spaniard Alex Rins. Salom made his debut in Grand Prix racing at Jerez in 2009, riding in the 125cc class, and would take his first Moto3 podium there three years later. This past March he was the fastest rider in the final preseason test of the winter.
Like the Spanish rider, Arthur Sissis and Zulfahmi Khairuddin are having their best ever start to a Grand Prix season. The Australian hopes to bounce back from a difficult weekend in Austin, in which he managed to salvage a points finish. Last season he did not make the chequered flag at the Spanish GP.
Zulfahmi Khairuddin has finished tenth at Jerez for the past two seasons. In 2012 he was able to move up 18 places, having started 28th on the grid. He aims to improve his times in every session this weekend, having been made to make comebacks in the opening two rounds to place sixth and seventh.
This will be the first of four rounds —Jerez, Catalonia, Aragon and Valencia— to be held in Spain in 2013.
Circuit information – Jerez Circuit
Length: 4.423 metres / 2,748 miles
Width: 11 metres
Left corners: 5
Right corners: 8
Longest straight: 607 metres / 0,377 miles
“We come to Jerez having ridden a great race at a tough track. In the first part of the race we had some problems, but in the second we led the way until the final corner. We showed that we can always be part of the fight for the win, and this is important. Jerez is a track that I like and that I think suits my riding style. It has all sorts of corners, whether they be fast or slow, and the last few are really nice. Riding at home, in front of your supporters, is always extra motivation that we will have to manage. We got the best time at Jerez in preseason, but now all the other riders have more laps under their belts and things will be different. It is going to be a hard race.”
“After the race in Austin, I’m raring to get back on the bike. Jerez has slow and fast corners and I like it a lot. I have mixed feelings about my previous visits there, because last season I crashed when fourth, but it is also where I took my first victory in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, back in 2011. I don’t know if the times will be much different to the preseason tests, but if the weather improves –and with the advances that we have made over the past two races– they will be faster. The aim in the race is to keep improving. Riding with the lead group will be difficult, but placing in the top six or seven would be a good result.”
“The Grand Prix of The Americas didn’t go badly. The practice sessions and qualifying were difficult for me, because I found it hard to feel comfortable on the new track. In the end, in the race, I was able to make up places to finish seventh. I am happy with that. I hope to improve my final position this weekend, however. Jerez is a track where all of us riders have undertaken many laps, and we know it very well. I will have to give 200%, every day. I don’t really have fond memories of this track, because bad weather has always made things tough for us. Also, in 2010 when I rode there for the first time, I remember that I was very slow. There are three or four riders who are going very quickly at the start of the season, and we are amongst a second group who are trying to match their pace. I will have to work, lap by lap, to try and get closer to their times. I am confident that I can do that.”