Fighting Fourth for Kallio in Malaysia
Mika Kallio took a hard fought fourth place in a restarted and shortened Malaysian Moto2 Grand Prix, while Scott Redding saw his championship lead reduced to just nine points after he finished seventh today.
Redding got a flyer from tenth on the grid to move into fourth at the first turn, with Kallio in fifth, but the race was red flagged when Axel Pons crashed on the opening lap and started a chain reaction that saw five riders end up in the gravel.
The race was restarted over 12 laps with the riders starting from their original grid positions. Both Marc VDS riders were involved in incidents at turn one, with Kallio pushed wide by Dominique Aegerter charging down the inside and Redding forced to sit up as Xavier Simeon got in too hot and collected Alex De Angelis on his way to the gravel trap.
Kallio lost three places as a result but set a new lap record as he chased hard to close the gap back to the battle for fourth place. The Finn then struggled to find a way past Aegerter, as his late braking style slowed them both. The delay in passing the Swiss rider meant that the 30-year-old Finn was unable to bridge the gap to the battle for second place, which was being fought out between Pol Espargaro and Tom Lüthi
The evasive action required to avoid the turn one crash left Redding down in tenth position, but the 20-year-old Briton had forced his way through into seventh by the end of the opening lap. Redding passed Takaaki Nakagami to take sixth at the halfway point in the race, but was unable to hold off the last lap challenge of Johann Zarco and had to settle for seventh at the chequered flag.
Redding now heads to the next race at Phillip Island determined to go all out for the win, as he seeks to reassert his authority on the championship that he’s led for much of the season.
Livio Loi missed out on a points scoring finish by less than one second in today’s Malaysian Moto3 Grand Prix, which the 16-year-old Belgian finished in 18th position.
Loi got a good start from 15th on the grid and had moved into 13th position by the end of the first lap. The Marc VDS rider then started to struggle with the bike skipping in the turns, especially under braking on corner entry. Despite his best efforts, the problem meant he was unable to hold off the challenge of those riders behind him and he eventually slipped back to 18th at the chequered flag.
Mika Kallio #36 // 4th
“Our goal here was the podium, so I’m not so happy with fourth position today. In both starts the first few corners were a big problem. I braked as late as possible, but both times Aegerter charged up the inside and pushed me out, losing me a lot of places. I posted the fastest lap of the race to catch them again, but it was really difficult being behind Aegerter. He’s so late on the brakes, and so slow mid-corner, it really disrupted my rhythm. By the time I got past him the group ahead was over a second away, so there was no chance to catch them. It’s disappointing, because my pace was easily quick enough to run with the front three, but the delay at the start meant I never got the chance to show that”
Scott Redding #45 // 7th // @Reddingpower
“Just as I started to tip in to turn one at the restart I saw someone coming through, trying to win the race in the first corner, so I put the anchors on as Simeon wiped out himself and De Angelis in front of me. That was it for me, because to run the same pace as the front-runners on the straights I needed to be with them, like in the first race, not chasing to catch up like at the restart. I did my best, but when you’ve got two straights back-to-back like this, it’s really hard to do anything. No matter how hard I brake, or how much corner speed I carry, I can’t make up the losses from the two straights. Now we need to go to Australia and win. At this point in the championship, with just three races remaining, it has to be all or nothing. We’ve lost points at the last three races, so now is the time to put it on the line and win again.”
Livio Loi #11 // 18th // @LivioLoi
“I don’t know what happened, but from the first lap onwards both the front and the rear tyres were skipping when I tipped into the turns. I have no idea what the cause was, as we haven’t had this problem all weekend, only in the race. I expected more given the feeling I had with the bike yesterday, so I’m really disappointed.”
Michael Bartholemy // Team Principal
“Mika rode a good race to finish fourth today. It’s just unfortunate that he got pushed out in the first few corners and then held up for so long by Aegerter, otherwise he could easily have been involved in the battle for second. Scott got a great start first time around but, unfortunately, lost out at the restart because of the crash in front of him in turn one. The important thing is that he kept his head and finished in the points. The championship is much closer now, with just nine points in it, but we knew it was going to be close after these last three races. But, Scott still leads the championship and we head to Australia determined to extend that lead once again. After a good qualifying performance we expected Livio to finish in the points today. He put up a good fight, but again there was an issue with his feeling with the bike, which we need to address ahead of the next race at Phillip Island.”