First Moto2 win for Kallio at Brno
Mika Kallio stood on the top step of the Moto2 podium for the first time at Brno, after taking a hard fought win in today’s Czech Republic Grand Prix. Scott Redding rode to a creditable eighth place, limiting his losses in battle for the championship, after struggling with set-up issues all weekend.
Fast in every session this weekend at Brno, Kallio was involved in a race long battle at the front with Tom Lüthi, Nico Terol and Takaaki Nakagami. The race leader changed on almost every lap but, with just two laps to go, Kallio forced his way to the front. The 30-year-old Finn then posted his fastest lap of the race to pull away from his pursuers, taking the chequered flag and the race win by 0.5s from Nakagami.
Kallio has been on the podium twice already this season, at Austin and Le Mans, but today’s race win is his first in five years, his last victory coming in the British 250cc Grand Prix at Donington Park back in 2008.
The set-up issues that have hampered Redding all weekend caused the 20-year-old Briton further problems in today’s 20-lap Moto2 race. Initially the bike worked well following changes to the set-up made after warm up. Redding was running as high as fifth, and battling with Pol Espargaro, before the chatter returned as the tyres went off at half race distance.
Redding still looked set for a top six finish, until Johann Zarco hit him from behind, forcing them both off track. The off track excursion meant that both riders lost contact with the group ahead, with Redding eventually finishing eighth, after holding off a challenge from Simone Corsi late in the race.
With Espargaro finishing fourth at Brno today, Redding’s advantage at the top of the Moto2 Championship standings was reduced by five points to 21.
Mika Kallio #36: First
“My last win was five years ago at Donington, so this has been a long time coming. It’s hard to explain how it feels to win again. Even if I don’t show it on the outside, on the inside it was a great feeling, especially on the last lap when I knew I could win. It was a hard race, but I knew if I could get to the front and then make no mistakes in the last two laps then the win was on, so that’s what I did. Exiting the last corner I could see the chequered flag and I thought; ‘I’ve done it’. It was such a great feeling. The team has worked hard all season, everything came together for us this weekend and the race went exactly to plan. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Scott Redding #45: Eighth
“After struggling with set-up even into warm up, we made some changes ahead of the race that improved things slightly. It was enough to allow me to catch Espargaro, eventually passing him for fifth, but then the problems started. As the tyres went off and the fuel load reduced the chatter returned and it started to get difficult. I still think sixth was a possibility, but then Zarco slammed into my knee and forced us both off track, which meant we lost contact with the group ahead. I managed to hold on to eighth, which means I lost a little of my advantage over Espargaro in the championship, but I’m happy enough that I limited the loss to just five points. Now we go to Silverstone, my home race, to see what we can do there in front of the British fans.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“From the first practice session on Friday, we knew Mika could win here in Brno this weekend. After qualifying and warm up we were even more convinced and, this afternoon, he proved us right. It was a great ride by Mika and not an easy race to win. Nakagami, Lüthi and Terol pushed him hard, but he stuck to the plan, played to his strengths and took his first Moto2 win. Now he’s won once, I’m confident we’ll see him winning again before the season is done. To have two riders in the team that can win races has always been our goal, and with Mika we’ve achieved that today. Scott has struggled to find a good set-up on the bike all weekend, but he never gave up. He raced on settings we hadn’t tried previously, which made a small improvement, but it was down to him alone that he limited his championship losses to just five points today. A good job in difficult circumstances.”