Under the blazing sun, DRIVE M7 SIC Racing Team rider Jakub Kornfeil achieved his best grid position of the season today, after qualifying in twelfth for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Following an impressive morning practice that saw the 22 year old finish in fifth place with a time of 1’46.954s, Kornfeil continued to show his strength as the forty minute qualifying practice began. After provisionally holding pole position, the Czech rider remained in the top ten for the majority of the session, progressing in pace throughout and setting his fastest time on his last lap.
Despite immediately improving his time from yesterday in Free Practice Three, teammate Zulfahmi Khairuddin continued to struggle with his pace on the #63 KTM machine. Showing good form in the first half of the track, the Malaysian rider was unable to maintain his time, losing over one second in the final sector.
Johan Stigefelt – Team Manager
“We’ve had a good start to the weekend with Jakub and he’s been strong from FP1 doing impressive lap times on his own. He can keep a very good pace and this means a lot for tomorrows Grand Prix. He’s very happy with the bike and we’ve barely touched it since Argentina, so this is very good. The most important thing is that his head is very strong and he’s confident that he can be up there for the race. Today has been his best qualifying so far this year. We maybe had a little bit higher expectations because this morning he was very strong finishing in P5 and then he was P1 for a little while in qualifying. He didn’t have a lot of luck in the last part of the session when he went out because he was all alone. He wanted to have someone to catch but it didn’t happen. Nevertheless he is twelfth and he’s starting from the fourth row and I believe he can do really well from there.
With Fahmi we’ve had a hard weekend; from the start he’s been struggling and the results have not been good. He’s qualified in thirtieth place and this is absolutely not where he should be. Coming from Argentina where the bike felt pretty good for him and then coming here where we’ve had to change a lot is a bit of a concern. We need to analyse why, speak to him and work out why he is losing so much time in the last sector. It will be a very hard race again for him tomorrow, so he just has to try his best and we need to get as much information as possible from it to see what we can do to resolve this.”
#63 Zulfahmi Khairuddin
Qualifying: P30; 1’48.725 – 16 laps
“This weekend has been really tough for me and the team. I feel the bike was OK but I’m not able to be fast, especially in turn eleven and twelve where I lose more than one second. The rest of the corners I was good but I am struggling in the fast ones. More than one second is a lot in racing so I’m really disappointed about this. Thirtieth position is definitely not where I want to be or what we expect. We have to see what we can do tomorrow morning in Warm Up and I hope that we can find a solution to improve. Of course anything can happen in the race and I am going to give it everything I have to try and get into the points.”
#84 Jakub Kornfeil
Qualifying: P12; 1’47.528 – 13 laps
“First of all I want to say a big thanks to my team because the mechanics have done a great job and my bike is working 100%. We have a strong package now and we are working very well together. We especially have a good bike for the race distance and I can make a lot of laps, which I’m very happy about. For qualifying it is a bit different because I was not able to do one extra fast lap like some of the other riders did, so for this we can maybe improve still for the next GP. For the race tomorrow we can earn points and this is what we must focus on now. I am pleased to have qualified in twelfth because we have made a big step forward from the previous Grand Prix’s. We have continued to make progress and this is very good. I am confident and comfortable with my bike. Its fast and I feel strong on the braking, so I think nothing is missing for us to make a better race weekend. I know I can push hard and battle with the other riders. I’m feeling very positive, so with a little luck on our side too, I believe tomorrow we can get a better result.”