Danny Kent is looking to bounce back at Le Mans this weekend after a “frustrating” Spanish Grand Prix was spoiled by transmission issues.

The former Moto3 world champion crashed out of the action at turn one at Jerez when he found it abnormally difficult to change gears, diverting his attention from the corner ahead.

It was a difficult end to a tough run of races for the Englishman, who also crashed out of the Moto2 outing at Austin. As it stands, Kent has one point scoring finish in his time with the Speed Up team: a twelfth place in Argentina.

“They changed the clutch on [Saturday] night and already in warm-up,” he said after the race at Jerez. “I was going into turn one, I’d release the clutch and it would randomly jump into third gear. The next lap after that on the exit of turn one, second gear. Then it would just get stuck in second gear.

“They could see it on the data but when they look at the clutch they could see nothing wrong with it. It all looked fine. Going into the race, it wasn’t so much jumping out of gear, but the force I had to put in through the lever to come back through the gears was not normal.

“When track temperature rose yesterday in qualifying a lot of people were crashing on the front. I couldn’t just concentrate on the corner, I had to concentrate on coming back through the gears, because I was having to put so much force through it.

“In Moto2 you’re sideways, braking so late and you I was thinking about too many things at once. It’s frustrating. Pace over the weekend was maybe not the best with a full fuel load but when the fuel dropped it was good.

“The feeling I’ve had is the way the fuel tank is built on this bike it’s quite far under the seat. With more fuel, it drops the rear. The first couple of laps through the fast corners I was trying to keep the same corner speed but the front end felt really light. When the fuel goes down the balance of the bike changes.”

The start of Kent’s time in the Speed Up squad has been far from straightforward. Through preseason the team switched chassis two times – from WP to Kayaba before ultimately settling on Ohlins -, meaning he arrived in Qatar some way from a base setting.

Qualifying performances have generally been good, with the Englishman securing a fine front row start at Termas de Rio Hondo. Team-mate Fabio Quartararo showed the chassis had some potential at Jerez, securing tenth, his best finish of the year to date.

“It’s one of those ‘What ifs’ because Fabio did a good race,” reflected Kent. “Over the weekend we’ve been more or less the same pace. Over one lap I was faster but race pace we were quite similar. He was able to finish the race and get some good points.”



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