Second row for Salom and third row for Sissis


Luis Salom takes fourth on the grid for TT Assen, despite missing final 6 minutes of qualifying. Arthur Sissis places ninth, whilst Zulfahmi Khairuddin misses out on the session after morning crash.

The starting grid for the 65th Dutch TT was decided this afternoon in Assen. Luis Salom will be the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider highest up on the grid, starting from the second row after clocking the fourth fastest time. One row further back is Arthur Sissis, with the ninth fastest lap of the session. Zulfahmi Khairuddin suffered a hard blow during the third practice session and missed qualifying to undertake medical tests at Assen hospital.

It did not rain in the morning, but a completely wet track at Assen meant slick tyres were out of the question for the final free practice session. The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders had to start from scratch with the setup of their bikes in the rain. In the end, Luis Salom achieved the fourth best time, Arthur Sissis the ninth quickest lap and Zulfahmi Khairuddin the twenty-sixth. The Malaysian rider was unable to complete the session after suffering a crash on his eighth lap.

After a visit to the circuit’s Medical Centre, he was taken to a local hospital as a precautionary measure. His participation in the Assen TT is pending the results of tests there.

In the afternoon qualifying session, Luis Salom and Arthur Sissis were given the chance to ride on a completely dry track. Content with his pace and having set a fast lap of 1:43.671, the Spanish Red Bull KTM Ajo rider had a run-off on the first sector as he looked to avoid traffic. He was unable to put his bike back in gear and missed the final six minutes of the session. Arthur Sissis again placed in the top ten, with ninth position from a time of 1:44.470.

Tomorrow’s race at the historic Dutch track is held an hour later than usual for European rounds —12pm— and is the only race on the calendar that takes place on a Saturday. Zulfahmi Khairuddin, with a 1:44.004, holds the lap record from last year.

Results (Qualifying practice)
1. Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra) 1:43.588
2. Alex Marquez (KTM) 1:43.588
3. Maverick Viñales (KTM) 1:43.649 +0.061
4. Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:43.671 +0.083
5. Alex Rins (KTM) 1:43.673 +0.085
9. Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:44.470 +0.882

Luis Salom >> Audio
“I missed the last six minutes of qualifying because I had a little problem with traffic and was been forced to go wide. I stopped the bike and tried to restart it several times, but it wouldn’t get going again. That leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. We knew we could improve our time and continue with the pace that we had, which is the most important thing for the race. We’ve done a good job and we are very happy with the bike and the job the team are doing. I can be satisfied with these first two days of the Grand Prix and keep calm ahead of tomorrow. I’m sure that in the race we can do a good job, whatever the conditions may be. Hopefully it will be dry, because it is less risky like that, but if it is wet then I’m happy with the setup that we have from this morning.”

Arthur Sissis >> Audio
“Thanks to the work done between yesterday and today, it was a pretty good qualifying session. We found a good setup for the race. It has been difficult due to the track conditions, with some areas of the track cold and wet and others windy, plus the traffic slowed the pace down. I think I could have gone quicker —in fact, I set my time by myself— so tomorrow can be a good race. The feeling in the wet is not bad, and we set a pretty fast pace in the morning.”


*Audio solely for radio use