Reigning Moto3 champions Red Bull KTM Ajo have given itself a minor head-start on the competition for 2013 by undertaking a private three-day session at Almeria ahead of next week's official pre-season test in Valencia.
The manufacturer-backed team, which claimed the inaugural Moto3 title with Sandro Cortese in 2012, is entrusting the defence of its crown to newcomers Luis Salom and Zulfahmi Khairuddin, while Arthur Sissis also stays on board.
As last year's runner-up on an RW Racing Kalex-KTM, Salom heads into 2013 one of the anticipated title favourites, the Spaniard pleased with his first impressions aboard the Austrian bike.
"We've had three very good days of testing in Almeria, where we have ridden this year's bike for the first time. Our feeling is positive, and day by day both I and the team will get more experience in order to understand the machine better.
“For a first test, we are happy with the times. We had the chance to try various things and I want to thank the team for their work. The next tests will be in Valencia and we will continue to try setups there in order to gradually improve performance."
Heading into 2013 with a determination to build on a breakthrough season that yielded two podiums and seventh in the standings, Malaysian racer Khairuddin was also encouraged by his maiden outing on the bike.
“These have been three very good days for us. We began work with the new bike and learnt a few things. We have also seen what works best. In any case, we still have a lot of things to try and I also have to work on improving my riding. I think it is positive that we came here to do a test and that we have been able to put in some laps. I can't wait for Valencia next week.”
Australian racer Sissis, meanwhile, was pleased to be riding again as he prepares to enter his second season with the KTM Ajo team.
"It's been good to get on the bike again after the winter break. These three days have been very important for learning the bike for this year. We tried a lot of new things. In the end we found a good setup, but this was our first time riding here and it took a while to get used to the track. I think that we have the bike prepared enough for Valencia and I hope that we can go faster there.”
No lap times from the test were published.
Red Bull KTM Ajo will now head to Valencia to join the official three-day pre-season test at Valencia on 12-14th February.