|Photo Credit: Gold & Goose Photography|
Circuit Length: 5.5 km
Qualifying: P28; 2’17.941 – 9 laps
Qualifying: P23; 2’17.621 – 15 laps
“At the start of qualifying I felt really good on the bike and we immediately improved by two seconds from the morning practice session. The mixed weather conditions made FP3 quite difficult and I struggled to get a good feeling with my bike. In qualifying it was completely dry and straight away I felt comfortable with the set up and I was able to push. When I went back out after the red flag I started to have some issues with the gearbox. I was unable to shift down so I had to return to the box, which ended my QP early. I was only able to make nine laps in total, so for this I am disappointed. However I will keep positive for tomorrow. I know I had the pace to be higher up the results, so hopefully with a good race start we can get some points here in Austin.”
“From the beginning of qualifying I felt quite okay but not as comfortable as I had been in the morning practice. When the red flag came out we were able to make some small changes and put a different tyre in the rear. We went back to the same setting that we had in FP3 and along with the medium tyre, the set up felt a lot better, so I was happy we made this change. For the last run of the qualification practice we put a soft tyre in and the bike was not working so well, but I had to just ride. I did four laps and tried to chase some riders in front but each time I did this they would just close the throttle so I could not follow them. Doing this I missed two laps. For the last lap I knew I had to just do it by myself, so I was pushing a lot and I did my fastest time, nearly one second quicker. Unfortunately the session had already ended and I had missed it by one or two seconds. With this lap time I could have been twelfth position. They didn’t show me the finish flag, so I had no idea I had missed it, which is why I was still pushing so much. We have qualified quite far back, so there is a lot of work to do in the race, but we have potential and knowing that I can do this lap time alone is very positive. We can be there with the front runners and I will do my best to push for this tomorrow.”
The qualifying started good especially for Fahmi who did really well in the beginning. He went out aggressive and straight away put in good lap times, which provisionally placed him in fifteenth place. He was looking strong and then the red flag came out and paused the session. When qualifying resumed and he went back out, he started to have some issues with the gearing and he couldn’t shift back, so unfortunately that was the end of his qualifying because there wasn’t enough time to resolve the issue. There was twenty minutes to go, at which point Fahmi was sixteenth. I’m really sorry for him because he did a very good job up until that point but with a technical issue there was nothing he could do about it. We will now analyse what happened, why and fix it.
Jakub started a little bit slower today; he didn’t have a very good feeling in the beginning but his crew modified the bike during qualifying and then he said it felt better. He did a good lap time on medium tyres and then in the end we went to the softer tyres. Unfortunately he was waiting a little too long to really push for the time. He passed the start finish line and thought he had another lap but the session had already finished. He hadn’t realised this so on that last lap he actually did a 2m16.7s time. If we look at the positives, he did this on his own and had it been registered, it would have placed him around eleventh position.
Let’s see tomorrow what we can do. Whether it is wet or dry we are well prepared for both. Of course it will be difficult starting so far back again but the pace is there for both riders, so with a strong start, we still have a good chance of finishing the race well.”