Front row for Redding in Brno
Scott Redding will start tomorrow's 20-lap Czech Republic Moto2 Grand Prix from the front row of the grid, after qualifying third fastest. Chatter issues meant that Mika Kallio was unable to qualify higher than 12th position at Brno this afternoon.
Second quickest on combined times from the three free practice session, Redding was building his pace in qualifying when a rain shower forced the majority of the Moto2 riders back to pit lane. Fortunately the rain was light and blew over the circuit quickly, leaving the track dry and the riders able to continue the session almost immediately.
Redding was one of the first riders to exit pit lane and, with a clear track in front of him, jumped to the top of the timesheet with his first flying lap. He was demoted to second shortly afterwards by a hard charging Pol Espargaro, but Redding looked all set to reclaim pole position until Alex de Angelis crashed heavily in front of him and he had to take evasive action.
The 19-year-old Briton was fastest through the second split on his next lap, but was baulked by another rider in the third sector and was unable to improve his time. A last minute dash by Thomas Lüthi pushed Redding back one place further, but third was enough to secure the Marc VDS rider his first front row start since his home race at Silverstone.
Kallio finished free practice yesterday in eighth position, but was unable to find the same feeling with the bike during today's sessions, which were held in much cooler conditions. The 29-year-old Finn struggled with traffic during this afternoon's 45-minute qualifying session, running into groups of riders on nearly all his flying laps, but front-end chatter was an even bigger problem for the Marc VDS rider, as it stopped him from significantly improving his lap time from free practice.
Despite starting from the fourth row of the grid tomorrow, the Kallio is confident that changes to the front end of the bike overnight will allow him to battle his way to the front in the early stages of tomorrow's race and, if all goes well, fight for the podium finish he set as his goal this weekend.
Today was also a successful one for the Marc VDS backed Belgian youngster, Livio Loi, who finished second in the Rookies Cup race at Brno. 15-year-old Loi, the first Belgian to be selected for the Rookies Cup, was involved in a frantic last lap battle with Karel Hanika and only lost out on the race win by the narrowest of margins.
Loi will return to the track tomorrow for round 12 of the championship and is determined to go one better and take his first race win, in what is turning out to be a very closely contested series.
Scott Redding #45: 3rd – 2'02.239
“It's been a good weekend so far. I've been on the pace from the start, at a track that hasn't been one of my strongest in the past, which is always good for your confidence. In qualifying I thought pole position was a definite possibility; even when de Angelis crashed in front of me and I had to go around his bike I still had the throttle pinned, convinced I could salvage the lap. Unfortunately I lost too much time, but he next lap was also a quick one until another rider held me up, and it was game over. But the front row is good enough here in Brno and I'm confident I can fight for a podium finish tomorrow.”
Mika Kallio #36: 12th – 2'03.206
“Qualifying was a bit of a disaster, but also a bit of a mystery. The feeling with the bike wasn’t good; I had some problems with front-end chatter and I felt like I was on the limit all the time. I tried to push more, to improve my time from free practice, but that just caused more problems with the front and the time didn't improve. I'm really disappointed because, even with this issue, I thought I could go faster, but it proved impossible. We need to try and improve things in warm up tomorrow if we are to go for a good result in the race. We don't need to make any big changes; I think just small changes will be enough to improve the feeling with the front. Or at least I hope so.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Scott has done a great job all weekend. If you'd asked me at which tracks he was likely struggle this year then Brno – with its long straights and a big hill at the end of the lap – would have been near the top of the list. The Kalex Moto2 bike works well here, but the biggest improvement has come from Scott. His approach has been perfect this weekend. Mika had a difficult qualifying session today. He struggled to find a clear track and chatter issues meant he wasn't able to push as hard as we know he can. He will start the race from the fourth row of the grid, but I'm still hopeful we'll see both Marc VDS riders on the podium tomorrow. Our young Rookie rider, Livio Loi, also did a great job by finishing second today. He was the first Belgian to be selected for the series and now he's the first Belgian to stand on the podium. Livio's result shows we have the talent in Belgium, now we just need to develop it.”