Front row for Redding at Estoril
The Marc VDS Racing Team's Scott Redding will start tomorrow's Portuguese Moto2 Grand Prix from the front row of the grid, after qualifying third fastest at Estoril this afternoon. Mika Kallio will start the race from the sixth row of the grid, after struggling with set-up issues in today's two sessions.
Redding was on a charge from the start today, ending this morning's 45-minute free practice session third fastest behind Thomas Lüthi and Marc Marquez. Qualifying played out the same way, with Marquez and Lüthi again pushing the Marc VDS rider back to third place, but this time Redding managed to close the gap to just 0.3s compared to the 0.7s of this morning.
The 19-year-old Briton has looked strong all weekend and goes into tomorrow's race confident of being able to fight at the front. Starting from the front row of the grid is already a big advantage at Estoril, which features a tight first turn into which the Moto2 field will arrive at speed.
Kallio was disappointed to end qualifying only 17th fastest, after struggling with set-up issues in both 45-minute sessions today. The 29-year-old Finn simply didn't have the confidence to push for a fast time, on a bike that was moving around underneath him on corner entry and exit.
Despite the problems, Kallio is confident that he and his crew can find a solution overnight and that a top ten finish is still a possibility in tomorrow's 26-lap Moto2 race.
In a change to the normal schedule, the Moto2 race will be the first on the program tomorrow, starting at 11.20 local time.
Scott Redding #45: 3rd – 1'41.278
“It was close out there in qualifying today and right up until the end I wasn't sure I was going to make it onto the front row. I kept chipping away at the time, taking a tenth here and a tenth there, before jumping up to the front row right at the end of the session. It's more important to start at the front here than it is at a lot of other tracks, as it's a long run from the start to a first turn that comes back on itself. Everyone expects carnage in a Moto2 race and, with the top 16 separated by just one second today I don't think they're going to be disappointed tomorrow. Obviously I'm going to be pushing for the podium, but it's not going to be easy.”
Mika Kallio #36: 17th – 1'41.990
“Today was tough. A lack of grip has always been a problem here at this track, but I just couldn't seem to find any grip at all today. As soon as I turned in the bike would start moving around underneath me. Then, when I opened the gas on the exit it would start moving around again and I'd lose a lot of ground. I was a second off the pace, but it felt like I was completely over the limit. In qualifying I threw caution to the wind and just went for it right at the end. I was just 0.3s off the fastest time halfway round the lap, but then Zarco ran wide and we collided as he swung back onto the racing line and that was that. If we can make some improvements overnight then I think top ten is still possible, otherwise it's going to be a long race tomorrow!”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Scott did a great job in both sessions today. He was fast and he was consistent and he showed quite clearly that we have the pace to run at the front of the race tomorrow. By qualifying on the front row of the grid he's given himself the best possible chance of fighting for a first podium finish this season, and that's exactly what I expect to see him doing tomorrow. Mika has had a tough day. The team have tried a number of different set-up options but we just can't seem to find the feeling that Mika needs to feel comfortable. We need to sit down with Mika and our engineers tonight, because we need to find a solution ahead of tomorrow's race. If we do, then I'm confident he can fight his way into the top ten.”