Selamat sampai di Austin. Flight yang sangat lama. Huh. Good night. Jumpa esok kat track. 😗
— ZulFahmi Khairuddin (@ZulFahmi_63) April 9, 2014
A SLIGHT improvement in qualifying was not enough to put a smile on Mohd Zulfahmi Khairuddin's face on Saturday as he parked his Honda in 20th spot for the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, the United States.It wasn't as big a step forward as the 22-year-old Ongetta-AirAsia rider had hoped for, just three spots up from his grid position at the Grand Prix of Qatar last month.
As Efren Vasquez placed the Saxoprint-RTG Honda in second spot behind pole man Jack Miller of Red Bull-KTM-Ajo, it meant three Hondas in the top five spots for the Moto3 race.
The Estrella Galicia pair of Alex Rins and Alex Marquez clocked third and fourth fastest on their Hondas, as they continued their challenge to dethrone KTM in Moto3.
Zulfahmi continued his struggles on board the new machine, hoping for his race craft to provide points scoring finish today, as compatriot Amirul Hafiq Mohd Azmi of the SIC-Ajo team placed 30th.
"I really am not satisfied with the qualifying position, but overall the bike felt better than before," said Zulfahmi.
"Now I just hope to have a good start in the race and try to get to the front group and stay there. I believe a top 15 finish would be quite possible."
Amirul Hafiq, 17, starts from 30th in only his second race as a full-fledged World Championship competitor, but felt he was beginning to get a hang of the new KTM machine.
"We changed the set-up a little compared to yesterday (Friday) and it didn't go as expected, especially in the fast corners the set-up wasn't good," said Amirul Hafiq.
"In the qualifying session, we returned to yesterday's settings and that was much better. I learned a lot but my times didn't drop. I'm confident for tomorrow because I'm very comfortable with the KTM."
The Moto2 class saw Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah park the Petronas Raceline Malaysia Kalex machine on 28th spot on the grid, while compatriot Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman only managed 33rd spot on the Idemitsu Honda Racing Asia machine.
Marc DVS Racing's Esteve Rabat grab pole position with AirAsia-Caterham Racing's Johann Zarco taking second spot and Technomag carXpert's Dominique Aegerter completing the front row.
Read more: MOTORCYCLING: Zulfahmi hoping for a strong finish in Texas - Racing - New Straits Times