CHIPPENHAM’s Danny Kent says he has additional motivation this year after kicking off his 2017 Moto2 season with a points finish in Qatar.

Having finished his first season back in Moto2 with a 22nd place finish and 35 points to his name last year, the 23-year-old is hopeful to improve on that this term with a new bike underneath him and different colours on his back.

Having been sponsored by Leopard last season, Kiefer Racing have changed their sponsor to recycling specialists AirGrinder, with Kent sporting a red, black and white livery on his new Suter MMX2 bike.

Having worked closely with the team’s engineers over the winter break, Kent, who claimed the Moto3 title two years ago, is confident he can compete near the top of the grid this campaign.

“After the long winter break I’m really happy that things will start seriously with our completely new project,” he said.

“The 2017 season will be a new challenge for me though despite being part of the team for some years.

“Since we started our collaboration back at the end of 2014, I’ve had a great relationship with Stefan and Jochen (Kiefer). And now we have made the switch to Suter bikes there is an additional motivation for me.

“I had a good feeling with the bike from the beginning and I’m sure that the engineers in Suter did a great job during the winter month to bring a competitive package this year.”

However, Kent was left frustrated last weekend as he was only able to convert a sixth-place grid position into three points in the opening race of the season.

“To be honest, today’s result doesn’t meet our expectation after we went into the race from sixth position on the grid,” he said.

“Before the race, we made a change to the bike and obviously, we went in the wrong direction.

“I’m satisfied with the points, but overall a little bit disappointed. The fact is that we must improve in some areas until the next race in Argentina.”