DRIVE M7 SIC Racing Team rider Jakub Kornfeil will start tomorrow’s French Grand Prix from the second row of the grid, after qualifying in fourth place.
With weather conditions deteriorating rapidly as the Moto3 qualifying practice got underway, Jakub Kornfeil wasted no time in getting to work. Knowing there would be limited dry time on track, the Czech rider took full advantage of the temporary conditions pushing hard from the start and setting his fastest time on his first flying lap.
Teammate Zulfahmi Khairuddin made a more cautious start to his qualifying session, resulting in an unfortunate end that saw the Malaysian rider qualify in thirtieth place. Working against the clock Fahmi was unable to replicate his improved pace set in the morning’s practice, but happy with his new set up, remains confident and ready to battle hard in tomorrow’s race.
Le Mans, France –Saturday 16th May
Circuit: Circuit des “24 Heures du Mans
Circuit Length: 4.2 km
Bike #63 – Zulfahmi Khairuddin
Qualifying: P30; 1’52.778 (WET) – 3 laps
Bike #84 – Jakub Kornfeil
Qualifying: P4; 1’45.575 (WET) – 8 laps
Johan Stigefelt – Team Manager
“It started to rain a little just before the beginning of qualifying, so we knew our riders had to get out straight away and push as hard as they could. We made the right decision and Jakub capitalised on this very well. He went out in the beginning and he rode great from the start. He was pushing but he was also careful. Across the finish line after his first lap he was third, then he got pushed down to P4. He said he could have risked more but still he qualified fourth. This is our best qualifying position of the year, which really shows that Jakub and his team did a great job. We saw this morning that the bike was good and after trying a couple of things we knew which way to go. Even if it had been completely dry we would have been there with the leaders, so I want to thank the whole crew for working well.
For Fahmi it was the same situation with the rain. He was a bit more careful like some other riders and didn’t push as much as he could of from the first lap. This resulted in him ending up at the back, so that’s unfortunate. You need to be confident for these conditions and Fahmi didn’t have that feeling 100%, so then it’s difficult. It’s unlucky for him because this morning he made a big step forward in FP3 and so we were hoping for a good qualifying result. It’s a pity to start thirtieth because again it will be very hard, but let’s see tomorrow what we can do”.
#63 Zulfahmi Khairuddin
“For qualifying today I was a bit late going out of the box and then when I went out it was raining already. I was pushing in sector one and then I saw so many people crash, so I tried to be very careful and this was my mistake. More rain came after the first lap and so I wasn’t able to improve anymore. It’s disappointing because after FP3 this morning I felt a lot better on the bike and we finished the session just 0.935s off P1. Despite our qualifying position we are in a good place with our dry set up and I think tomorrow if we have a good start, we can be up there.”
#84 Jakub Kornfeil
“Starting from the second row is fantastic and fourth position is so good because last year I was twentieth here. Now this is my best qualification of the season so far and I’m very happy about this. It was not such a difficult session for us because we didn’t make so many laps on the dry, only two; it was more about strategy. We went out early and that was the key for this qualifying. We were amongst the first to leave the box so we still had a dry track. The weather was changing so quickly and on the second lap the rain was getting heavier, which is why other riders were crashing and unable to improve their lap times. I was one of the first riders to pass the finish line from the beginning of qualifying; I knew it was going to rain very quickly into the session, so I pushed from the start and fortunately this plan worked very well for me. We made a good decision and now we will start tomorrow’s race from fourth position which is great. I am very happy with this result for the team too, they have done a great job. I think we have a strong bike for the dry and if it’s a dry race, I believe we have a big chance to be at the top.”