Saturday February 16, 2013
Zulfahmi is all smiles as he gets acquainted with new bike
By SHAMSHUL FITRI
PETALING JAYA: Malaysian Moto3 rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin enjoyed a fruitful outing in the three-day official pre-season test in Valencia in the new livery of Red Bull KTM Ajo.
Despite only clocking the 12th fastest time of 1:40.564 on the final day on Thursday, Zulfahmi was on pace with the frontrunners in the first two days at the Ricardo Tomo circuit.
Zulfahmi was fourth fastest (1:41.788) on the first day of testing on Tuesday and improved his time to 1:40.961 on Wednesday to be fifth fastest.
Maverick Vinales, of team JHK T-Shirt Laglisse, was the fastest on all three days, clocking 1:39.299 to top the three-day combined standings.
“It was a good day for the team and I think that yesterday (Thursday) was the best of the three,” said Zulfahmi.
“The bike worked well and I’m very happy with it.
“We’ve improved things with the bike over these three days, but I’m sure that in the future we can go even faster.”
Zulfahmi finished twice on the podium en route to finishing seventh in the championship last season and earned promotion to the championship-winning team from AirAsia-SIC-Ajo after impressing team principal Aki Ajo.
Last season, German rider Sandro Cortese dominated the season in the Red Bull livery under Ajo’s guidance.
Zulfahmi will have another chance to get acquainted with the new 2013 KTM bike next week as they head to Jerez for the second official test from Feb 19-21.
“We’ll try out new parts and weight distribution there. I think we need to keep putting in the kilometres in order to adapt to the new bike,” said Zulfahmi.
Meanwhile, Ajo is hoping to get more out of Zulfahmi in the second test as he predicts a tough Moto3 season this time.
“For next week, we are focusing on getting familiar with the bike and we should be calm and convinced about what we are doing,” he said.
The championship will start under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit in Qatar on April 7.
1. Maverick Vinales (Spa) JHK T-Shirt Laglisse 1:39.299, 2. Alex Rins (Spa) Estrella Galicia 1:39.585, 3. Luis Salom (Spa) Red Bull KTM Ajo 1:39.669, 4. Jonas Folger (Ger) Mapfre Aspar 1:40.050, 5. Jack Miller (Aus) Caretta Technology RTG 1:40.291, 6. Romano Fenati (Ita) San Carlo Team 1:40.428, 7. Alex Marquez (Spa) Estrella Galicia 1:40.468, 8. Efren Vazquez (Spa) Mahindra Racing 1:40.495, 9. John McPhee (Gbr) Caretta Technology 1:40.510, 10. Miguel Oliveira (Por) Mahindra Racing 1:40.526, 11. Jakub Kornfeil (Cze) Redox RW Racing 1:40.543, 12. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Mas) Red Bull KTM Ajo 1:40.564.