CORTESE TOPS MOTO3 LAP TIMES FOR THREE DAYS OF TESTS
Sandro Cortese of the Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 Team was fastest on the Valencia circuit for the third consecutive day in the first round of official tests for the new MotoGP class.
Cortese also managed to improve his lap times each day as teams running KTM and KTM-driven bikes continue to work hard on their pre-season preparations. “I had a very good feeling right from the first day to the end of tests and we improved a lot as we get the bike ready for the season. With KTM as the factory team we have a lot of support and I think I am in a better position than in previous years,” Cortese said at the conclusion of the training.
While there is still much work to be done before the opening MotoGP in Qatar, it was nevertheless a positive outing for all five riders of the new KTM factory bike and the four riders on the KALEX-KTM-driven machine. They dominated fast lap times in the top ten and were all up among the top third of the field of 33 riders.
After last week’s preliminary tests and the three days at Valencia Aki Ajo, Team Manager of the Red Bull KTM Ajo nevertheless took the cautious approach saying he was quite happy. “Now we have had five full days of tests and we have had no technical problems. That is the most important. But we must remember that we are in the early states of our preparation. All the teams are just beginning and we will really have a better idea of where we stand after a month.”
Alex Baumgärtel, constructor of the KALEX-KTM bikes said the tests had been very positive. “All our riders managed to improve their times over the three days and we were without any technical problems. We can say we’re in the ballpark. It’s been very positive for us.”
While weather for the first two days of tests was very cold, Friday was kinder for the teams. Cortese managed to put in a lap time fourth tenths faster than his best on Thursday to come away satisfied with his final day. Alberto Moncayo (KALEX-KTM), Danny Kent (KTM) and Luis Salom (KALEX-KTM) all reported a time of 1’41.2 to be third, fourth and fifth on the unofficial time list on Friday. Niklas Ajo (KTM), Hector Faubel (KALEX-KTM) were placed sixth and seventh, Zulfahmi Khairuddin (KTM) and Brad Binder (KALEX-KTM) were ninth and tenth and Australian Red Bull Rookies Cup graduate Arthur Sissis (KTM) finished thirteenth.
The next Moto3 testing will begin next week in Jerez, Spain, where the Andalusian track will host three test days (Thursday, Friday and Saturday).
Unofficial Moto3 lap times Friday (recorded by teams)
1. Sandro Cortese (D), Red Bull KTM Ajo, 1’40.9 (KTM, 41 laps)
2. Maverick Vinales (E), Avintia Racing, 1’41.0 (66 laps)
3. Albert Moncayo (E), Aspar Team, 1’41.2 (KALEX-KTM, 56 laps)
4. Danny Kent (GB), Red Bull KTM Ajo, 1’41.2 (KTM, 56 laps)
5. Luis Salom (E), RW Racing GP, 1’41.2 (KALEX-KTM, 28 laps)
6. Niklas Ajo (FIN), TT Motion Event Racing, 1’41.4 (KTM, 32 laps)
7. Hector Faubel (E), Aspar Team, 1’41.6 (KALEX-KTM, 54 laps)
9. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (MA), Airasia SIC-Ajo, 1’42.0 (KTM, 44 laps)
10. Brad Binder (RSA), RW RACING GP, 1’42.0 (KALEX-KTM, 50 laps)
13. Arthur Sissis (AUS), Red Bull KTM Ajo, 1’43.1 (KTM, 50 laps)