Round two sees the Championship travel to the United States of America for its second overseas Grand Prix of the year. After a difficult season opener in Qatar, the DRIVE M7 SIC Racing Team are looking forward to getting back on track this weekend and showing their true potential at the Circuit of The Americas.
Eager for a good result, riders Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Jakub Kornfeil are feeling energised and confident and ready to build on their progress made with the set-up of their KTM Moto3 machines.
Situated in Austin, Texas, COTA, as it is most commonly known, was the first circuit in the United States to be purpose-built for Formula One.
With a counter-clockwise driving direction, the track encompasses twenty varying turns and a unique elevation change of forty one metres.
Austin, Texas – Tuesday 7th April
Circuit: Circuit of The Americas
Circuit Length: 5.5 km
#63 Zulfahmi Khairuddin
“Qatar was a difficult race for the team but from this we learned a lot. One of the most important things for me to focus on now is my riding style. On race day in Qatar we found quite a good setting and I felt a lot more confident, so I think the set-up we have now is good. I hope that this will also work well in Austin and then it is up to me to work very hard. I have to ride the bike 100% before we look at changing anything.
I think the track in Austin will be better than Qatar, because in Qatar we struggled in the fast corners, but in Austin there aren’t as many fast corners, so I believe this will be a better track for the KTM.
Austin is the most difficult circuit on the MotoGP calendar. In total it has twenty turns and a lot of blind corners. It also has many direction changes and a long straight. It’s a very challenging track but when I get on the bike I enjoy the layout a lot.
My aim is to be competitive from Free Practice One and the most important thing is to qualify in a good position, then I can push for a good result.”
#84 Jakub Kornfeil
“In Qatar we had a very hard weekend but in the end we were able to find the best set up. I think now we are a lot more prepared for this next GP and in Texas we will be working very hard to make sure we are strong from the start.
I’m not too sure how the KTM will perform at The Circuit of The Americas. Last year the KTM’s were quite strong, so I hope that this track will suit us, but this is a new bike, so you never know completely.
To be honest it’s not one of my favourite tracks to ride. The place itself is very special and I like to go there, but to be fast around this circuit is difficult for me. The track is so wide and there are slow sectors and then very fast also. On this track you can find everything, including a very steep hill before the first corner.
My aim for Austin is to try to push very hard from the first practice and then we will see where we are. I will also have my birthday in America, so it would be nice to get a good result as a present!”
Johan Stigefelt – Team Manager
“In Austin we need to start much better than what we did in Qatar. We had some issues that we didn’t expect at the last race but this should hopefully be resolved now. Free Practice One will be very important for us and from there we have to build on and focus on doing well in Qualifying. It will be interesting to see how the KTM will perform in Austin as well, we have seen that the engine is strong and this will be an important factor on the long back straight. Austin is a very technical circuit with a lot of first gear corners. In the past Jakub has done well there and Fahmi likes it as well. From this moment on we must show our true potential; we are a well organised and well prepared team with great support from Sepang International Circuit, DRIVE, Tourism and all our other partners. We will not accept a result like Qatar. We must push more as a team and the riders must show their experience and willingness to do well.”