In one of the most gripping races of the season so far, the DRIVE M7 SIC Racing Team concluded the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM with mixed emotions after finishing in 16th and 26th position.
Starting from the second row on the grid, Jakub Kornfeil launched himself up to third place on lap one, before temporarily taking the lead on his #84 KTM machine. Looking strong and determined for a podium finish, the Czech rider relentlessly battled within the leading pack. Heading into the final lap in sixth position, Kornfeil looked set for a solid finish until a crash in front forced him to take evasive action and run off track; re-joining the race he crossed the line in sixteenth.
Making a good start Zulfahmi Khairuddin fought his way up to nineteenth, claiming six places on the opening lap, but as he crossed the start-finish line he soon became aware of a technical issue on the #63 bike. Unable to rectify the problem himself, the Malaysian rider refused to retire despite being unable to battle for the point scoring finish he had set out for.
Johan Stigefelt – Team Manager
“Today was one of the most nerve racking-races I have seen. There were exceptional battles throughout and Jakub rode a superb race. In the end we didn’t finish where we wanted to but regardless Jakub did a great job and his bike was fantastic. He made a good start and went with the leading group. We knew it would be a tough race from the beginning but still he never really dropped out of the top seven. Even when he got slipstreamed on the straight he immediately fought back going into the corners. Unfortunately on the last lap he was taken out by two other riders who crashed in front of him and was forced to run off track and over the gravel. He lost around seven seconds and crossed the line in sixteenth. Nevertheless we have proven again that we are fast, we have a good package and the team is getting stronger and this is very important; it’s just a matter of time before we have a podium. I have to thank Jakub for a great race, it was so nice to see and I look forward to the next one.
With Fahmi unfortunately we experienced an issue with his bike, so this didn’t help him at all. He mentioned in the warm up that something was not feeling right with the bike, but the mechanics couldn’t locate a problem. We thought it would be alright but it wasn’t and this resulted in a poor race. Now we have to look to the next one and ensure that this doesn’t happen again. We haven’t really been on the pace here with Fahmi so this is what we must focus on for Barcelona. It is important now that he regains his confidence and we can help him to finish well in the next race.”
#63 Zulfahmi Khairuddin – P26
“Today I believe is the worst race of my career. This morning in warm up I lost all of my confidence; I felt so different with the bike. It was moving a lot in the corners, especially the right ones. We tried to solve the problem after the session but we were unable to find the cause of it. In the race I felt that my steering damper was broken and as soon as I turned right I could feel the difference and it didn’t feel stable at all. I knew there was nothing that I could do, so I continued the race as best as I could because I didn’t want to just give up. This finishing position is not for me; my goal is always to be in the points and I know this is what I am capable of. Today has not been our day but I hope that the next race will be good.”
#84 Jakub Kornfeil – P16
“My feeling after this race is very good. I had such a great bike today and I have to firstly thank my mechanics and crew chief for this. We made some changes this morning in warm up and the set up was very good. I felt so comfortable on the bike and I think everybody who was watching could see this too. This could have been our race today; I was really thinking about the podium because everything with my bike felt so easy. It was still a tough race but I enjoyed it a lot. What happened in the last lap happened, but this is the sport and so I cannot be upset. I know I could have finished up the front, so for sure the result is disappointing but we have to look at the progress we made today, stay focussed, keep positive and we will fight again in Barcelona.”