The DRIVE M7 SIC Racing Team riders were back on track today for free practice at the historic Le Mans Circuit. Following early morning rainfall, the first of the day’s sessions saw a slow start with the majority of the Moto3 field remaining in the pits whilst the 4.2km track dried out. Undeterred by the mixed conditions, Zulfahmi Khairuddin got straight to work testing the set up of his #63 bike with rain tyres. Looking in good form the Malaysian rider remained in the top twenty as the rest of the field took to the track, concluding the session in 18th place.
Focussing on his dry set up teammate Jakub Kornfeil was quick to get up to speed in morning practice, finishing the session in eighth place after only nine laps.
As a dry afternoon practice got underway both riders soon began to encounter grip issues and so focussed their attentions on testing settings rather than lap times.
Despite struggling with the set-up of their KTM machines, Jakub and Fahmi are confident that they can find a solution for tomorrows qualifying.
Bike #63 – Zulfahmi Khairuddin
FP1: P18; 1’49.043 (DRY) – 15 laps
FP2: P31; 1’45.177 (DRY) –19 laps
“For the first free practice this morning I initially went out on rain tyres as the track was still very wet in places and I felt quite good on the bike. Towards the end of the session we were able to use slicks, but there was not so much time to really get a good feeling. In the afternoon the track was completely dry. I was quite strong in the first sector but it was not easy to put in a quick lap. We tried the softer tyre and I didn’t have a good feeling on the bike. It was difficult to stop because the grip was not there, so I could not push. There are a lot of hard braking points on this track so we need to make some adjustments to our set up to be able to improve. We know what the problem is and we will now work to find a solution. I am keeping focussed and I will stay positive and I hope tomorrow will be a better day for us.”
Bike #84 – Jakub Kornfeil
FP1: P8; 1’47.754 (DRY) – 9 laps
FP2: P14; 1’43.914 (DRY) – 18 laps
“This morning we had a very strange practice with the mixed track conditions. I first went out on slick tyres thinking it would be dry but the track was too wet in many places, so I made one lap then went back to the box. We were waiting for around thirty minutes for it to improve and then finally we were able to get out for the last fifteen minutes in the dry. I was able to pick up the pace and we finished the session in eighth position, which was good. However it didn’t give us the time to really understand the bike. In the afternoon we had no real data to go off, so it wasn’t until then that I could really test our settings. We received some upgrades from KTM here which worked well and I think the bike is a little bit faster, but we were not so happy with the set-up. The suspension is not working so well and we are looking for the grip, especially in the front tyre. In FP2 I nearly crashed many times and every lap I had some moments but luckily I could save it. I was trying to push but it was very difficult to ride the bike, so we must improve this. Despite these things I am happy that we have lost only three tenths to the fastest KTM, so we can see we are not so far away but tomorrow we must be better.”