Danny Kent is to test KTM's Moto3 bike at Jerez on Tuesday, and is to race as a wildcard at Le Mans. Aki Ajo, team manager of the Red Bull KTM team, who knows the 23-year-old Englishman well from his previous stints in the Ajo team, has seized the opportunity to use Kent's experience in Moto3 to help develop the bike, which is struggling against the Honda at the moment.
This has thrown Kent a temporary lifeline, after he decided to leave the Kiefer Moto2 team before the race in Austin. That decision came as a shock to the team, though Kent had struggled through the first two races of the season.
At the moment, the plan is only for Kent to do a test and then the race at Le Mans. Kent will be hoping that if he can score a good result, then he may get a second chance in Moto3. A team as well funded as Ajo's may be able to find the resources to put on more wildcard rides for Kent, or if he is capable of running with the front runners at Le Mans, convince other Moto3 team managers to take a gamble on him.
The test will also provide useful data for KTM and for Ajo. So far, the KTMs have struggled in Moto3, and the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders Niccolo Antonelli and Bo Bendsneyder have not performed as expected. If Kent also has problems with the bike, and his feedback matches Antonelli and Bendsneyder, that would point to a problem with the KTM. But if Kent is much quicker than the current riders, that would indicate the problem lies with the riders.
Below is the press release from the Red Bull KTM Ajo team:
Kent to test KTM Moto3 bike
British rider will participate in a day of testing next Tuesday at Jerez with Red Bull KTM Ajo, and enter the French GP as a wildcard.
05/04/2017 - Jerez Circuit, Spain
Danny Kent will take part in a day of testing with the KTM Moto3 bike next Tuesday at Jerez, following the Spanish Grand Prix which takes place at the track this weekend. He will be testing alongside the rest of the Red Bull KTM Ajo team.
The Briton has four years of experience in the lower cylinder class, and rode for Red Bull KTM Ajo in 2012 and Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo in 2014. He has been chosen by the Austrian factory to evaluate and give his point of view on the KTM RC250 GP used in the World Championship. Kent will complete his collaboration with Red Bull KTM Ajo by entering the French Grand Prix as a wildcard, alongside the team’s regular riders Niccolo Antonelli and Bo Bendsneyder.
Aki Ajo - Team Manager
"After learning of Danny Kent’s situation in the World Championship, the team, Red Bull and KTM had the joint idea of asking him to test and develop our bike. Danny is a rider who has already been part of our team in the past; we know well how he works and he knows us, and we believe that with his experience he can give us a very interesting point of view for the technical development of our bike. In addition, what every rider needs is to compete, so we have offered him the possibility of a wildcard ride at Le Mans with us. I am convinced that the outcome of this collaboration will be very satisfactory for both parties."