Danny Kent gives Husqvarna first pole position


Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider completes magnificent run of free practices with his first pole position of the season. Niklas Ajo will start from the fourth row tomorrow.


Danny Kent gave Husqvarna their first pole position in the Moto3 World Championship this Saturday. The Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider and Niklas Ajo have achieved two podiums and four front rows between them to date. In today’s session, the Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo rider placed eleventh –a position that will allow him to start tomorrow from the fourth row of the grid.

Yesterday he was the fastest man and this morning, in the final free practice session, Danny Kent was just 0.063 off repeating the feat in second position. The Briton improved for the third consecutive free practice session. Niklas Ajo went very close to doing likewise, but was less than a tenth slower than his top lap from yesterday afternoon –1:58.038, eighteenth.

These times quickly became irrelevant, as in the qualifying session both Husqvarna riders set their best laps of the weekend. Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider Kent contributed two quick laps with four minutes left to take first pole position of the year and set a new circuit record of 1:56.555. Ajo rode in the 1:57s for the first time in qualifying, taking eleventh with a 1:57.234 lap.

With this result, Danny Kent has the second pole position of his career –at the scene of his first pole two years ago. Tomorrow, he and Niklas Ajo contest the fifteenth round of the year from 11.00am local time.

Results – Qualifying practice
1. Danny Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo) 1:56.555
2. Niccolo Antonelli (KTM) 1:56.899 +0.344
3. John McPhee (Honda) 1:56.907 +0.352
4. Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra) 1:57.049 +0.494
5. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:57.081 +0.526
11. Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo)  1:57.234 +0.679

Danny Kent >> Audio (solely for radio use)

“I’m very happy to have taken a second pole position of my career –once again here in Japan– and the first for Husqvarna. Throughout the weekend I have had a very good feeling with the bike and have been very comfortable right from the first free practice session yesterday. We go into the race tomorrow very confident and I hope to put in a good performance.”

Niklas Ajo >> Audio (solely for radio use)

“This morning was a little difficult for us, because we wanted to make a few changes from yesterday that did not work as well as we were hoping. I suffered a bit with rear grip and with the front under braking.

For the qualifying session we took a risk and again made major changes –and this time it worked. I felt comfortable right from the beginning. I was able to ride fast by myself, but on my best laps I always had traffic around. So I think we could be higher up. However, this eleventh position is not bad.”