Danny Kent has spoken of his excitement at switching to a Suter chassis at the close of the year, after his hopes of turning a tough run of results around were thwarted by using the wrong tyre pressure in Sunday's Moto2 race at Aragon.
The reigning Moto3 world champion will remain with Kiefer Racing for a third successive season – his second with the squad in Moto2 – in 2017, but a raft of internal changes are incoming as the team bids to arrest the recent slide that sees Kent sit 21st in the championship.
Firstly, it appears the Englishman will be one of only four riders to compete aboard a Suter chassis, in the hope that a greater deal of technical input and support will be leveled in his direction over a race weekend.
Kiefer Racing will also switch change from WP to Ohlins suspension. Kent and team boss Stefan Kiefer have also identified a new crew chief – Lucio Nicastro – to work alongside the Englishman, in place of the outgoing Peter Bom.
For Kent, these are all reasons to look toward 2017 with fresh optimism. “We won the championship last year and I get on really well with Stefan and the team,” Kent told Crash.net
of the deal that sees him remain in the intermediate class for another year.
“It looks like we'll be switching to Suter. I know Jonas [Folger] had a two-day test on the bike in Valencia and I've heard all positive stuff about the bike. He says the bike has a lot of potential. This is promising.
“There will be a few changes inside the team as well with a bit more experience, which can then support me as well.”
“Speaking to Stefan, Suter are really motivated. They don't just want to come back and be inside the points. They want to come back and be on the podium. That's good.
“Also, from what we're hearing, there is only going to be four bikes on the grid. In terms of development, when they want to make some changes with the bike, instead of having to make 20 parts for 20 riders they only have to make four.
“So we'll have some good Suter engineers inside the pit box. When we want to make a change we've got extra people there for help.
“It looks like we'll be switching to Ohlins as well. We've seen his year Ohlins have been putting in a lot of effort. They look very strong. WP have got their own bike next year so for sure we wouldn't be getting what they get. So we'll make the switch over to Ohlins.”
Kent's hopes of overturning a recent difficult run of results were undone by a potent mix of sickness and lack of front-end feel at Motorland Aragon. A bout of gastroenteritis had the 22-year old feeling below par in qualifying.
He was then sent out with the wrong rear tyre pressure in Sunday's race, forcing him to pit after just five laps. A 29th place finish had the Englishman saying, “I'll be glad when this year's over.”
“It was the wrong tyre pressure,” said Kent. “Instead of it being 1.4 the tyre pressure was 2.5. It was rock solid. I had no grip. It was a mistake which was out of my hands and it's making me look stupid out there.
“It's getting really frustrating. We had a difficult qualifying. The pace when we got the right tyre pressure and I got back out there was not too bad. It was maybe pace for the group that was fighting for 14th or 15th. If I was in that group maybe I'd have learned something as well. It's another bad weekend and I'm hoping our luck turns around when we go to the flyaways.
“There's not much I can do, when it's out of my hands. It gets really frustrating for me but at the end of the day we're with these guys for the rest of the year. I don't want to make a bad atmosphere in the team. Only four more races left. I'll be glad when this year's over so I can start to prepare for next year.”
While Friday began positively with Kent twelfth fastest in FP2, a crash the following morning left him struggling for confidence with the front-end of his Kalex.
“Friday was good. We had that small crash on Saturday morning. When I went out in qualifying I just didn't feel myself. I had no confidence with the bike, which was the reason we qualified down where we were. This morning felt a bit better and even though we started on the last row I still think we had a good chance to be inside the points.
“It was a problem in turn two. This track is famous for it. It's one of those corners where it's not really a rider's mistake. You're not on the brakes. You're only just getting on the throttle in the corner and if you go a little wide or a little too much on the inside the front would just close on you.
“We had that in FP3 and loads of riders had that this weekend. The problem is there are a few corners like turn two on this track. If you lose your confidence it's hard to get it back.
“But with the problem we had at the start of the race I had to come in, change the tyre pressure, and go back out. We lost so much. It was good to go back out there and to do some laps to try and get back into a rhythm.”