Kent just misses out on front row


Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider, fourth in the qualifying session at Phillip Island, loses out on the first row by just 0.030s. Niklas Ajo, nineteenth, suffers a heavy crash at the start of the session.


After a good start to the Grand Prix weekend yesterday, Danny Kent continued in the same way this Saturday at Phillip Island. The Briton achieved fourth place on the grid for tomorrow after going fast with both new and worn tyres. Niklas Ajo, nineteenth, was unable to convert his free practice form into a good qualifying session due to a heavy crash 17 minutes in.

The second day at Phillip Island started with a positive final practice session for the Husqvarna riders. The Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo rider, fast again from the early stages, was at the head of the timesheets with 13 minutes to go and finally finished with the fifth fastest time of 1:36.719. Likewise, Danny Kent improved his times with a 1:36.454 to put him second, 0.077s behind the quickest rider.

The qualifying session did not start well for Niklas Ajo, who on his second outing suffered a heavy crash at Turn 1. In the fall he fractured the little finger on his left hand. Despite this, the Finn will start the race from the seventh row, nineteenth with a 1:37.201 time. Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider Kent enjoyed a calm and useful stint, in which he claimed fourth. His 1:36.419 lap put him just 0.030s off the front row.

Tomorrow’s race in the lower cylinder class will take place two hours later than usual, at 1pm local time.

Results – Qualifying practice
1. Alex Marquez (Honda) 1:36.050
2. Alex Rins (Honda) 1:36.064 +0.014
3. Juanfran Guevara (Kalex KTM) 1:36.389 +0.339
4. Danny Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo) 1:36.419 +0.369
5. John McPhee (Honda) 1:36.521 +0.471
19. Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo) 1:37.201 +1.151

Danny Kent >> Audio (solely for radio use)

“I think today was another day that we should be happy about. We were able to get a place at the head of the second row, which is positive. Our pace all weekend has been very strong, both with new tyres and worn ones. The feeling about the race is very good. We will try to help Jack [Miller] as much as we can, as he needs the maximum number of points possible for the overall standings. We have enough pace to fight for the front positions, and that is what we will try to do.”

Niklas Ajo >> Audio (solely for radio use)

“This morning it looked like everything was going well; we were setting good times even when riding alone. The bike was working very well. In the qualifying session, on the first runout, we started strong and were very fast on worn tyres. But on the second outing with new tyres I tried to push and crashed heavily –breaking my little finger. I also have a lot of pain throughout my body. Still, tomorrow we will take part in the race and try to recover from the blow we suffered today. I think tomorrow there will be a large group, so we will have opportunity to be at the front.”