Record start for Kent at Motegi


Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider sets fastest Moto3 lap ever at Motegi, going quickest in each of the two free practice sessions. Niklas Ajo finished eleventh on the combined timesheet.


The first day of the Japanese Grand Prix was an unbeatable one for Danny Kent. At the circuit where he took his first victory in the Moto3 World Championship in 2012, the Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider was quickest in each of the two Friday free practice sessions and set a new fastest lap of the track. Niklas Ajo, eleventh on the combined timesheet, took an important step forward in the afternoon.

Temperatures of around 22ºC and sunny conditions greeted the Moto3 riders from the early morning. Niklas Ajo was the first to lead the timesheets. His work was interrupted with four minutes to go, when he crashed at Turn 4. His best lap was a 1:59.204 to go eighteenth. A few seconds before Ajo’s fall, Danny Kent had set a new fastest lap of the circuit –1:57.611– to claim the top spot and become the only rider able to break the 1:58 barrier.

The record did not last long, as in the closing stages of the afternoon the same Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider shattered it with a time of 1:57.317. Kent completed his best Friday of the season in style. Niklas Ajo lowered his morning time by over a second for a 1:57.984 and eleventh place. The Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo rider hopes to finish configuring the setup of his bike tomorrow.

Danny Kent will be chasing pole position tomorrow alongside Niklas Ajo, in a qualifying session that takes place from 12:35pm. He took pole in 2012 en route to victory.

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Danny Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo) 1:57.317
2. Alex Rins (Honda) 1:57.375 +0.058
3. Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra) 1:57.418 +0.101
4. Brad Binder (Mahindra) 1:57.418 +0.313
5. Enea Bastianini (KTM) 1:57.685 +0.368
11. Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo) 1:57.984 +0.667

Danny Kent >> Audio (solely for radio use)

“I’m very happy with how the weekend has begun. It was our best Friday all season. The feeling that I have on the bike and with the track are very good. Anyway, we have to keep working hard because this has only just begun. The points are given out on Sunday, so if we continue working in the same way we will be strong in the race. But for a first day I’m really happy.”

Niklas Ajo >> Audio (solely for radio use)

“This morning we had some problems with the rear tyre and also suffered a small crash due to the lack of grip on the asphalt. For the afternoon we made some changes. When we tried the other tyre we found a good setup with which we rode well. In the afternoon we did not put in all the laps that that we wanted, because we were trying to change the bike up, but on the last run the times were good and consistent. Also in the second session we had a minor problem with the gearbox, so we have to analyse what happened. The feeling pretty good and we are not far from the top, so I’m confident.”