Positive start for Red Bull KTM Ajo at Indianapolis


Luis Salom, Arthur Sissis and Zulfahmi Khairuddin conclude the first day of the GP weekend with seventh, ninth and eleventh fastest times of the day, respectively.

The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders were back on their Moto3 machines this Friday after four weeks without a Grand Prix. The ninth round of the year began at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a first free practice session hit by the rain. In the second runout, the weather was somewhat better, and Luis Salom, Arthur Sissis and Zulfahmi Khairuddin were able to lower their times and improve setups for their KTM bikes.

The first contact with American track was not what the riders had hoped.  With 17 minutes to go in the first practice session, light rain forced the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders to return to the garage just when they were recovering a feel for their bikes from the 10 laps undertaken. Despite improving conditions in the final minutes, Arthur Sissis ─tenth─, Zulfahmi Khairuddin ─twelfth─ and Luis Salom ─fifteenth─ preferred not to risk things at a circuit with three different asphalts and grip which greatly improves over the course of the weekend.

Keen to make the most of the next 40 minutes of practice, Salom and Sissis were amongst the top ten from the early stages of the second session onwards. All three Red Bull KTM Ajo riders needed only the first half of the session to reduce the times from the morning. In the end, Luis Salom ─with a time of 1:48.975─  achieved the seventh fastest time of the day, Arthur Sissis was ninth ─1:49.334─, and eleventh quickest ─1:49.533─ was Zulfahmi Khairuddin.

Tomorrow’s action will start from 9.00am, the final free practice before qualifying at 12:35pm. Last year, Luis Salom and Zulfahmi Khairuddin both started from the second row of the grid.

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Maverick Viñales (KTM) 1:48.502
2. Romano Fenati (FTR Honda) 1:48.541 +0.039
3. Alex Marquez (KTM) 1:48.609 +0.107
4. Jack Miller (FTR Honda) 1:48.626 +0.124
5. Alex Rins (KTM) 1:48.809 +0.307
7. Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:48.975 +0.473
9. Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:49.334 +0.832
11. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:49.553 +1.031

Luis Salom >> Audio
“We started the Grand Prix with a bit of a difficult first session, because in the first few minutes we noticed that we had to make some setup changes. Later it started to rain and we could no longer make the most of the first session. In the afternoon things went better, the feeling was good and although we have to improve a bit, overall I’m happy with how the day went.”

Arthur Sissis >> Audio
“It was a pretty good first day to the Grand Prix. In the morning practice session I was amongst the top ten from the start and feeling good. It’s a pity that it started to rain and we lost about fifteen minutes of the session. In the last two minutes, it looked like the track was better, but we decided not to go back out. In the second session, we continued the work begun in the morning run and we managed to go faster. The feeling was again good and we remained in the top ten. To begin the weekend as one of the ten fastest riders is a good start, so hopefully I can continue to progress tomorrow.”

Zulfahmi Khairuddin >> Audio (English) // Audio (Malaysian)
“This first day went really well for me. I did a very good job with the team, getting a good pace up quickly and easily finding a good feeling on this difficult track. The final position may not be fantastic, but we are not far away from the leading group. I think we can improve tomorrow.”