Luis Salom kickstarts weekend with new record


Red Bull KTM Ajo rider takes fastest time on Day 1 at Valencia. Zulfahmi Khairuddin places seventh, and Arthur Sissis eighteenth.


A magnificent first day of the Valencian GP saw Luis Salom take an early advantage. The current Moto3 World Championship leader was quickest on the opening day of practice sessions at the Ricardo Tormo track, setting a new circuit record in the process. Zulfahmi Khairuddin was in the top ten in both practice runs, whilst Arthur Sissis made steady improvement and is confident about Saturday.

Good weather and temperatures of 17ºC were the backdrop to the opening session of the year’s final round. Red Bull KTM Ajo riders Luis Salom and Zulfahmi Khairuddin began strong, but it wasn’t until his final stint that the former moved up into first place with a 1:40.403 lap. That time broke the previous circuit record at the track and was the quickest of the day. Zulfahmi Khairuddin, eighth with a time of 1:41.432, completed a satisfactory session, and Arthur Sissis placed twenty-third.

Salom, Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Sissis were back on track in the second session, which featured stronger winds. Gusts of up to 32 km/h affected their afternoon, impeding their quest to lower their times from the morning. Salom was, however, able to set a good pace on used tyres and was just 13 milliseconds off the top time with a 1:40.502 lap. Zulfahmi Khairuddin, seventh with a 1:41.311 lap and sixteenth-placed Arthur Sissis (1:41.771) were able to improve their morning times. Zulfahmi Khairuddin missed the final four minutes of the session after a crash at Turn 3, from which he escaped unharmed.

Tomorrow sees qualifying take place from 12:35pm local time. Last year, Salom took a front row start, whilst Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Sissis took off from the sixth and seventh rows, respectively.

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:40.403
2. Alex Rins (KTM) 1:40.489  +0.086
3. Maverick Viñales (KTM) 1:40.580  +0.177
4. Jonas Folger (Kalex KTM) 1:40.956  +0.553
5. Jack Miller (FTR Honda) 1:41.108  +0.705
7. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo)  1:41.311  +0.908
18. Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:41.771  +1.368

Luis Salom >> Audio
“I have no reason to be nervous. It was a good day today. We end Friday with the best time on the board and in the afternoon we had a strong pace on tyres with 20 laps in them. I am very happy and need to be calm, because today went well. We shall see what happens tomorrow, but if we keep on this same line of work then we can have a good qualifying session. I took the best time of the day, so I am happy. The times are going to drop a lot tomorrow. We can’t lose focus and need to keep working hard.”

Arthur Sissis >> Audio
“Today’s end result wasn’t bad. In the morning we didn’t start as we would have liked, as I didn’t have a good feeling with the bike and we made some setup changes. There was a strong wind and many riders were unable to lower their times, but I did so and we were quicker than in the morning. I felt a lot more comfortable then. I hope to continue in the same way tomorrow.”

Zulfahmi Khairuddin >> Audio (English) // Audio (Bahasa)
“It was a good day for me, because I felt very comfortable on the bike. In the second practice session I had a small crash at Turn 3, but I am not worried because it seems like we have things under control. The crash was my fault. I hope and believe that we will improve tomorrow, changing some things with the setup in order to be amongst the frontrunners. I am happy with my position today, but not with my fastest time, which I think I can beat. I am also not consistent. This afternoon we will continue studying the telemetry to see where we can improve tomorrow; I have a lot of confidence in my team and in myself.”


*Audio solely for radio use