Front row for Redding and third row for Kallio at Assen
Scott Redding will start from the front row of the grid for the sixth time this season, after qualifying in third position for tomorrow’s Moto2 Dutch TT at Assen. Mika Kallio put in his best qualifying performance since the opening race in Qatar to secure eighth position on the grid for tomorrow’s 24-lap race.
With rain affecting two of the three free practice sessions here at Assen, Redding was still working on race set-up during the early part of today’s 45-minute qualifying session. The 20-year-old Briton’s fastest lap, just 0.145s off that of pole sitter, Pol Espargaro, came after changes to the set-up of his Kalex Moto2 bike, but Redding is convinced there’s still more improvements to be had ahead of warm up tomorrow.
Kallio finished this morning’s red flag disrupted free practice in third place, after making the most of the dry conditions right at the end of the session. The 30-year-old Finn was disappointed not to have qualified higher up the grid, but remains confident for tomorrow’s race, after finding a good feeling with the bike in both wet and dry conditions.
Livio Loi will start tomorrow’s 22-lap Moto3 Dutch TT from the head of the sixth row of the grid, after qualifying 16th in difficult conditions this afternoon at Assen. After rain this morning, conditions were mainly dry for the 40-minute qualifying session, although damp patches remained in places to catch out the unwary. Loi quickly got a feel for the tricky conditions, with his fastest lap just 1.354s off pole position and enough to secure him 16th position on the grid, despite not feeling completely comfortable with the set-up of his Kalex-KTM machine.
Scott Redding #45: 3rd – 1’38.879
“The changeable weather means we’ve had little time to refine the dry set-up this weekend, so we were still working to improve the bike during qualifying. The lap time was there; I didn’t feel particularly comfortable doing it and I was a little bit too much on the limit, but that’s the way it is sometimes. I was hitting the rev limiter a bit too much in sector two, where I was losing most of my time, so we need to look again at the gear ratios tonight. It’s almost there, but we’re just missing a little something right now. If it’s dry tomorrow then we’ve got a few ideas to try in warm-up, just to improve slightly our race set-up, but we could race with what we’ve got now if necessary.”
Mika Kallio #36: 8th – 1’39.294
“After running consistently towards the top of the timesheet all weekend, and finishing third quickest in this morning’s session, I’m a little disappointed not to have qualified further up the grid today. I was pushing hard, but the lap time just seemed to stay the same and I got pushed back by a bunch of riders who always seem to qualify well but then struggle to match their qualifying pace in the race. But the gap to the front is small, my feeling with the bike is good and I’m confident for tomorrow’s race. If I can get a good start and stay with the leading group on the opening laps then anything is possible, including a podium finish.”
Livio Loi #11: 16th – 1’44.942
“Overall I’m happy enough with my qualifying position, but problems with the bike meant that it wasn’t possible to run qualifying pace consistently today. I’m struggling to get the bike turned in for the faster corners, it just wants to run wide, and the front doesn’t feel very stable mid-corner either. This is where you make your time here at Assen, so we need to find a solution for the race. I need a good start in the race, as the times from sixth to 16th are very close and it will be a big battle in the opening laps. If I can get off the line cleanly and then stay out of trouble I think a top ten finish is a realistic goal for tomorrow.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Mika has been on the pace since the opening free practice session here at Assen and his confidence in the bike has been boosted as a result. He’ll start from the third row tomorrow, his highest grid position since Qatar, and I’m confident he has the race set-up and pace to challenge for the podium tomorrow. Scott felt a little bit on the limit in qualifying today, but still managed to drop into the 1’38s bracket, one of only four riders to do so, to secure his sixth front row start of the season and I’m confident he’ll also be challenging for the podium tomorrow. Livio has learnt an important lesson about maximising track time when the weather is changeable, as it has been here at Assen, and I’m happy to see him qualifying just outside the top 15. I know he’s aiming for a top ten finish tomorrow, but we’d be satisfied with him finishing in the points.”