Salom and Zulfahmi Khairuddin start amongst top five


Luis Salom, third, and Zulfahmi Khairuddin, fifth, start Aragon GP weekend well. Arthur Sissis takes seventeenth fastest time.


The third Spanish round of the Moto3 World Championship began in satisfactory fashion for Red Bull KTM Ajo. World Championship leader Luis Salom —third—, was amongst the fastest riders in the two Free Practice sessions on Friday, whilst Zulfahmi Khairuddin took a step forward in the afternoon session to claim the fifth best time of the day. Arthur Sissis was eighth in the morning, but ended the day seventeenth.

Red Bull KTM Ajo made a strong start at MotorLand Aragon. Salom clocked the second fastest lap in the first session of the day, with a 2:00.930 time. He was one of just two riders to breach the 2:01 barrier. Salom was trying out updates to his KTM chassis, whilst his teammates –Arthur Sissis in eighth with a 2:01.753 lap and Zulfahmi Khairuddin eleventh with a 2:02.253– gathered important data as they worked with a suspension adjustment.

The fruits of the hard work were shown in the afternoon session, in which the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders lowered their times. Salom led the way in the early stages, but left his best time until the antepenultimate lap of the day. His 2:00.229 time put him third overall. Zulfahmi Khairuddin put in a 2:00.924 lap and Arthur Sissis –suffering from a cold– contributed a 2:01.655.

Luis Salom will attempt to repeat his front row qualifying spot from last year in tomorrow’s grid-deciding session, whilst Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Arthur Sissis will look to improve upon the third and sixth row, respectively.

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Alex Rins (KTM) 1:59.801
2. Maverick Viñales (KTM) 1:59.961 +0.160
3. Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:00.229 +0.428
4. Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra) 2:00.477 +0.676
5. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:00.924 +1.123
17. Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:01.655 +1.854


Luis Salom >> Audio
“My foot is much better. Even though I cannot walk too much still, I’m happy because my condition has improved and by the end of the year I hope to be almost fully recovered. As for today’s practice sessions, we did very well. The feeling was very good, both in the morning and afternoon, but at the end of the second session I came up against some traffic. We will continue working tomorrow as we did today and try to finish polishing the details of the setup. We are pleased with the performance of the bike at this track and that’s very important.”

Arthur Sissis >> Audio 
“I feel better than yesterday, but it’s still a bit hard for me to breathe and I notice that when I’m riding. It will not be an easy weekend. The first session was good, while in the second I had to go back to the pits on the first lap because I was not comfortable with a setting that we had changed. Apart from this, we put in good laps with the intermediate tyres. On the last run we tested the hard tyres and they did not respond so well. Tomorrow we will focus on testing them more and try to improve our cornering lines on Turns 1 and 3. Those are the most difficult corners, where I think I am losing most time.”

Zulfahmi Khairuddin
>> Audio (Eng) // Audio (Bahasa)
“I think it was my best day so far this season. In the two sessions we tried to save the tyres for tomorrow and the truth is I am very happy with the bike’s performance. We must continue working to drop at least a second off our times, and get closer to the leading group. The feeling is good and we just need to perfect small details on some corners to finish off the job. I’m sure of myself, the team and the bike and think we can do well this weekend. Today we used few tyres and this may be one of the keys to tomorrow ahead of the qualifying session.”


*Audio solely for radio use