Red Bull KTM Ajo move on to penultimate race of the season23/10/2013
Luis Salom has possibility to seal the Moto3 World Championship in Japan. Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Arthur Sissis look to return to the top ten at a track which they like.
The Japanese Grand Prix brings an end to a three-week run of consecutive races, and will be the penultimate GP of the season. Luis Salom arrives at the 4.8km Motegi circuit in Japan 5 points clear at the head of the overall standings, with a remote –albeit possible– first chance to become Moto3 World Champion. Teammates Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Arthur Sissis have good memories of Motegi and hope to place inside the top ten this weekend.
Only a small mistake on the final lap at Phillip Island prevented Luis Salom from fighting for victory until the last moment. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider has taken a win, a third place and two pole positions at the last two rounds. With a 5-point lead in the overall standings, the Spaniard defends his advantage and seeks win number 8 of the season –a tenth of his career– at a track where last season he battled for the win. For Salom to win the title this weekend, he requires a victory and to put a further 20 points between him and Alex Rins.
At last season’s Japanese Grand Prix, Zulfahmi Khairuddin placed fifth after starting from fourth on the grid. This result –and the eleventh place finish in Australia taken last weekend on his full race comeback from injury– will be two sources of motivation for the Malaysian rider heading into the penultimate race of the year. Almost back to full fitness, Zulfahmi Khairuddin is eyeing a top ten finish at Motegi.
Arthur Sissis also wants to do so, after he had a tough race at his home Grand Prix. This will be his second visit to Motegi, a typical stop & go track which, according to the Australian, is perfectly suited to the characteristics of his KTM. Last year Sissis took points with an eleventh place -–a position he will want to improve upon this weekend.
Circuit information – Twin Ring Motegi
Length: 4.801 m / 2.983 miles
Width: 15 metres
Left corners: 6
Right corners: 8
Longest straight: 762 m / 0.473 miles
“I like the Motegi circuit and I have always had good performances at the track, bar the last visit there when I crashed. That was on the last lap, when I was fighting for the victory and I could not rejoin the race. This weekend we hope to be up there with the riders at the front of the field and have a good race. I’m sure that both the team and I will give our best, and that’s the most important thing.”
“This will be my second Japanese Grand Prix. Last year was the first time I had ever raced at Motegi and the truth is that I really liked the track. It has heavy braking zones and fast corners. I think it could be a circuit that particularly suits the characteristics of this year’s KTM. Hopefully I can be fast and fight amongst the frontrunners.”
“I go to Japan almost fully recovered from my injuries, and although I’m still not at 100%, I’m working on it. Motegi is one of my favourite Grands Prix on the calendar. Last year things went very well for us there, as we were very strong throughout the weekend and finished the race in fifth after qualifying fourth. I hope to repeat the results this weekend and continue our form from Phillip Island –which was one of our best weekends of the year.”