The opening round of the 2015 Moto3 World Championship saw the DRIVE M7 SIC Racing Team narrowly miss out on their first points of the season.
Despite a difficult qualifying session Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Jakub Kornfeil took to the grid feeling confident and ready to race.
As the lights turned green the DRIVE M7 SIC Racing Team riders launched off the line gaining positions from the start.
Claiming six places in the opening lap, Kornfeil looked set to take the field by storm, until a crash in front of him left the Czech rider with no choice but to veer off track. Immediately getting back up to speed, Kornfeil worked hard to close the gap and regain the time he lost, crossing the line in a hard fought seventeenth place.
Making a good start, Malaysian rider Zulfahmi looked in good form as he worked his way up to twenty third place but an unlucky racing incident saw the 23 year old crash out on lap six. Escaping unhurt, Zulfahmi quickly remounted his #63 bike to complete the remaining laps of the race and gain valuable data for his crew.
Johan Stigefelt – Team Manager
“I think we have done a reasonable job in the race today, but for sure we are not so happy about the results and we need to improve our qualifying. Today Jakub’s pace in the race was very good. In the second lap he got pushed off and lost about seven seconds but at the end of the race he was only 8.7 seconds off the winner, so this is very positive. He also did much better lap times than qualifying too, which is good, so we must take this with us. He likes the bike and said he was very happy with the set-up that we have now. I believe if he hadn’t have been pushed out he could definitely have gone with the leaders. Now we have a complete race under our belt and for sure this is valuable data. We have to learn from this and move forward.
For Fahmi it is quite similar; he made a decent start but was not quite in the group he should have been in. Six laps in Danilo crashed into him and he lost the front, so this is not good, but he picked the bike back up and continued the race. He has learnt from today’s race and is happier with his bike, which is good. This race is over, so now we have to look to Austin and do our job well. I know we can do much better than we have shown here in Qatar. We have learned a lot and we will use this to our advantage.”
#63 Zulfahmi Khairuddin – P28
“The start of the race was good and I felt really confident with the bike. We made some changes and they worked well. I was able to get into a good rhythm and catch riders in front of me, but then in lap six one rider knocked me from behind and I had a crash. Luckily I was able to continue the race but it’s very disappointing because I knew I could fight for the points. The positive thing is that we are now a lot happier with the bike. We will continue to work hard for the next race because the most important thing is that we are competitive from Free Practice One.”
#84 Jakub Kornfeil – P17
“First of all I have to say thanks to all my mechanics because they prepared for me a very good package today. Thanks to them I could go much faster with this bike. The race result was not about the set-up of the bike anymore because I could push in the race. I made a very good start but unfortunately from the beginning of the second lap I was running a bit wide into the first corner and then a rider crashed in front of me, so I had to go completely off the track to avoid him, which is where I lost a lot of seconds to the leader. It’s disappointing because today we could see that we had the same rhythm as all the front runners. Unfortunately this happened but anyway I am a lot happier about the bike and I know that I can be competitive. We found a good setting here and I think it can work well in Texas for the next GP, so this is very good.”