Danny Kent previews season 2014 with Husqvarna
The Red Bull Husqvarna Factory Racing Team goes to the 2014 Moto3 season as the new team on the grid, albeit under the expert guidance of the very experienced manager Aki Ajo. British factory rider Danny Kent is making a return to the smaller class bikes after a year away in Moto2 and has emerged in pre-season testing as a rider to watch in the current season.
Born in 1993 in England’s Chippenham, the 20-year old Kent came to the World Championship competition through the ranks of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, the rich training ground for potential stars of MotoGP. He debuted in this competition in 2009 when he finished a creditable fourth overall, including one race win. In 2010 he was constantly in the spotlight, finishing runner-up in the Cup competition, and with two race wins.
His performance also won him a couple of wild card rides in the 125 cc World Championship as early as 2010, an indication that he was already on the radar screen as a potential outstanding rider. He went on to ride in the 125 cc championships in 2011 for Red Bull Ajo and finished a very creditable eleventh place in this full season as a rookie.
Then in the debut year for the new race category Moto3 Kent found himself on the KTM Moto3 machine, again racing for Aki Ajo, now the KTM factory team manager. Kent finished fourth in the championship in a competition that has been tight and highly competitive from its very first race.
Kent then went to Moto2 in 2013 and rode into the points in five races before a broken collar bone in the warm up of the Japanese GP in Motegi cut short his season.
Now in Moto3 and back in the Ajo stable for the 2014 season, Kent has performed well in the official pre-season tests on the Husqvarna FR 250 GP bike, prompting team boss Ajo to remark: “We should be very happy about our performance at the moment. This is the first season for Husqvarna in Moto3 and we feel our team is already at a good level.”
Kent also said he feels he has adapted back into Moto3 well. “I already had one year in 2012, but since then the development has made the Moto3 bike change quite a lot. We have to ride it quite differently than we did in 2012. I think I have adapted to it quite well and I am happy with the pre-season. We’ve done a good job and found a good base.”
When asked about his expectations for the coming season, Kent remarked: “To be honest, I didn’t set myself any goals. I didn’t know what to expect coming back from Moto2. It has just been about getting a good feeling for the bike but of course its been good to see my name up on top among those who have the best lap times. It’s also good to be in a new team and a new bike coming onto the grid and one that is also competitive. So hopefully in the first year we can we can give the team a good strong year.”
In the opening IRTA tests in Valencia, Kent was third overall after the three-day, nine-session tests. He was fifth overall in the second round of official tests in Jerez and was seventh overall in the third round of tests, also at Jerez.
Also competing alongside Kent in 2014 on the Husqvarna FR 250 GP bike is KTM-supported rider Niklas Ajo.
The 18-round Moto3 season opens at the Losail circuit under lights in Qatar on March 23rd.