Fifth front row start of the season for Redding in Malaysia
Scott Redding will start from the front row of the grid for the fifth time this season in tomorrow's Malaysian Moto2 Grand Prix, after finishing second in this afternoon's qualifying session. Mika Kallio was disappointed to qualify only 15th, after machinery problems yesterday and a wet session this morning left him short of dry set-up time.
Redding was happy with his set-up in the dry conditions and was able to improve his lap time by almost half a second before the rain arrived 15 minutes into this morning's final free practice session. The 19-year-old Briton was initially less confident in the wet, but used the rest of free practice to refine the wet set-up on his Kalex Moto2 bike in case of a wet race tomorrow, which is looking increasingly likely.
With rain threatening once again in qualifying Redding was quick to make his mark, shattering the pole position record on just his third flying lap, before the sun breaking through the clouds caused the track temperature to rise and the grip levels to drop off. Few riders were able to improve from this point on with the result that Redding's early lap was enough to see him qualify in second position.
Mechanical issues yesterday, which forced a change of frame and engine on Kallio for today's two sessions, cost the 29-year-old Finn dear today. Effectively starting from scratch with bike set-up, Kallio was initially quicker than yesterday, but then lost out on crucial dry track time when the rain arrived and disrupted this morning's free practice.
Kallio continued to try and refine his set-up during this afternoon's qualifying session but, again, was unable to push hard for a fast qualifying lap due to front-end chatter and a problem with the clutch that lost him time on every corner exit. Despite the issues, Kallio remains confident he can secure a good result tomorrow if he can get away from the start cleanly.
Scott Redding #45: 2nd Position – 2'07.399
“With the chance of rain always high here this weekend I know I had to go out hard from the start. I felt pretty good with the bike from the start of the weekend, so I was pretty up for it this afternoon. We tried the other option front tyre for the first time right at the start of qualifying and it worked a lot better for me, which is why I was able to set a fast lap so early on. It's a good job I did, as the track sort of went away from us as the session progressed and only Pol Espargaro was able to improve his time at the end. Tomorrow will be a long, hard race, as it always is in Malaysia. We know that grip is going to drop off pretty quickly and that I'll have to smooth out my riding style to compensate. It will be easier if I can get away at the front, so that's what we'll be looking to do. A podium tomorrow here at Sepang, a track that doesn't really suit me, would be amazing.”
Mika Kallio #36: 15th Position – 2'08.599
“Last night we changed both the frame and the engine and although the feeling was better, the chatter problem was the same. We tried all the normal things to try and reduce the chatter, but nothing seemed to work. We can see the problem quite clearly on the data, which also shows that Scott isn't having the same issues. We've pretty much exhausted our remedies, so we may try some of Scott's suspension settings in warm up to see if that improves things. It's not an ideal approach, as our riding styles are very different, but if it does reduce the chatter than I can ride around any other issues. We also had a problem with the clutch slipping today, which lost me time out of every turn, so we also need to fix that problem before tomorrow's race.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Scott was quick to find a good dry set-up yesterday, so the changeable conditions we've had here in Malaysia played into his hands a little. After the wet session this morning, and with rain threatening this afternoon, we decided to go for a fast lap from the start of qualifying, just in case. That's exactly what Scott did, breaking the pole position record within three laps to qualify on the front row. A good result for Scott here in Malaysia could see him close on third position in the championship and that's all the motivation he needs for the race. Mika has had another disastrous weekend, losing time to mechanical issues yesterday and then missing out on dry set-up time today. Starting from the fifth row of the grid will be difficult, but he showed in Japan that he's capable of fighting his way through to the front, and I'm confident he can do the same tomorrow.”