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Khairuddin and Ajo left to lament crash

Khairuddin and Ajo left to lament crash

An unfortunate incident took both Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Niklas Ajo out of the Moto3™ Monster Energy Grand Prix de France on Sunday. As the Malaysian highsided, the Finn was helpless in avoiding his trouble-hit rival.

The moment – which can be re-lived on – occurred on the exit of the Chemin aux Boeufs ‘S’ bend, as Zhairuddin was flicked over the top of his Red Bull KTM Ajo machine. Avant Tecno’s Ajo attempted to evacuate onto the grass, but his bike was collected by Khairuddin’s feet as the latter slid over the kerbs.

“At the beginning I was quite careful, just to check the weather,” Khairuddin explained after the race. “I started to pass many, many riders. I don’t know what happened. I just lost grip. I’m a bit disappointed because I knew I could catch the front group, or at least the top five group. In these conditions it is so difficult to have a good result, only we need a bit of luck sometimes. I’m really happy with the work we have done this weekend and hopefully we can continue at Mugello.”

Ajo shared his version of events as the innocent victim:

“Of course it’s quite disappointing because the position was good and I had taken the start of the race very carefully. The other guy crashed in front of me and I couldn’t do anything. I had to move to the other side of the track to try and avoid him, but it happened – that’s racing [smiles]. I hit my knee pretty hard in the impact after the crash and it was the same (knee) I had hit in Jerez, so that’s why it was quite painful but it’s not bad; it’s just a big hit and that’s it.”

The coming together was certainly less than ideal for Aki Ajo, Niklas’ father and team head of the outfit for which Khairuddin rides. However there was also good news, as Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Luis Salom finished on the podium despite a heavy crash in Saturday practice which had resulted in a trip to hospital before qualifying.

“Of course I’m not extremely happy, but I am happy that we have collected points and it is still the beginning of the season,” Ajo Senior commented. “I feel that we maybe used a setting too soft in comparison with our competitors, but it was really, really difficult because even on the grid we were still deciding whether to use wet tyres or slicks. In the end we have to be happy with the third position.”

The aforementioned Salom is Red Bull KTM Ajo’s leading candidate heading to Mugello, as he sits second in the championship and 13 points in arrears of Maverick Viñales (Team Calvo). Non-finishers at Le Mans for the first time in their individual 2013 seasons, Khairuddin and Ajo lie sixth and 12th, respectively.

Moto3, 2013, MONSTER ENERGY GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE, Niklas Ajo, Zulfahmi Khairuddin, Red Bull KTM Ajo, Avant Tecno

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