Luis Salom on the first row for the title challenge09/11/2013
The Spanish Red Bull KTM Ajo rider will start from second on the grid in the championship deciding race tomorrow. Zulfahmi Khairuddin will start from the third row, and Arthur Sissis from the eighth.
Moto3 World Championship leader Luis Salom is prepared to challenge for the 2013 title in the definitive final race tomorrow. The young rider dominated the third practice session and crossed the line just 16 thousandths of a second behind the pole setter in the qualifying session. He will launch tomorrow’s race from the center of the front row, flanked by his two title rivals, Alex Rins and Maverick Viñales. Zulfahmi Khairuddin again placed in the top ten and will start from one end of the third row in ninth position, while Arthur Sissis will start from the eighth row in the twenty-third.
A mechanical problem forced Luis Salom to lose twenty minutes of the final free practice session, but an excellent job by the entire Red Bull KTM Ajo team allowed the Spanish rider to improve on his previous outings by not only setting the fastest the time of the session but setting a new circuit record of 1:39.879 as well. Team mates Arthur Sissis and Zulfahmi Khairuddin also improved their times from yesterday while they worked to determine a perfect setup ahead of the qualifying session, with Sissis marking a 1:41.090 to put him thirteenth fastest in the session and Zulfahmi Khairuddin following with a 1:41.268 in seventeenth.
After climbing aboard his KTM for the qualifying session, Luis Salom completed nineteen laps, setting his best time on lap sixteen stopping the clock at 1 minute, 39 seconds and 475 milliseconds, just 16 thousandths off of the pole position. Confirming the confidence in their setups, Zulfahmi Khairuddin set a time of 1:40.627, returning him into the top ten, and will start from ninth on the grid on row three. Team mate Arthur Sissis finished among a group of eighteen riders –six through twenty-fourth– all of whom were within one second of each other. The Australian rider will launch the race from eighth row on the grid in position twenty-three.
The 2013 Moto3 World Championship will be decided tomorrow at 11.00am when the red lights go out and 24 laps for the title begin. Luis Salom will be seeking his eighth win of the season, while Zulfahmi Khairuddin will try for a repeat of his podium last year and Arthur Sissis will try for a top ten finish for his first time at the circuit.
Results (Qualifying practice)
1. Alex Rins (KTM) 1:39.459
2. Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:39.475 +0.016
3. Maverick Viñales (KTM) 1:39.744 +0.285
4. Jonas Folger (Kalex KTM) 1:39.836 +0.377
5. Jack Miller (FTR Honda) 1:40.043 +0.584
9. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:40.627 +1.168
23. Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:41.195 +1.736
Luis Salom >> Audio
“Qualifying was very good, and it’s just a pity that we missed out on pole by so little –just 16 thousandths of a second. We had some mechanical issues, but I am not worried about them because tomorrow it will all be resolved. I am very happy, because my pace is very good. Tomorrow’s race will be very special for me and good to watch for the fans.”
Arthur Sissis >> Audio
“It’s all very tight and I wasn’t very fast in qualifying, but I think that tomorrow we can make some small changes and do better. I think that if I am a little faster, then I can gain 10 places. Tomorrow’s race will be very hotly contested and I can’t wait to get it underway. This morning I felt much more comfortable than yesterday, but in the afternoon we made some changes and I didn’t feel so good. Tomorrow we will go back to the setup which worked the best for us, so things should go well.”
Zulfahmi Khairuddin >> Audio (English) // Audio (Bahasa)
“To be honest, I am rather happy with the result of the last qualifying session of the year. At the start of the sesion I was fighting a lot with the bike and, without making any changes, on the final lap I found my pace again and was able to put in a hot lap. I think that ninth on the grid isn’t isn’t bad, but the track is so narrow that it is important to be as far ahead as possible; overtaking isn’t easy. Tomorrow I will focus 100% on the race and we hope that it goes well for us.”
*Audio solely for radio use