Front row for Redding in Jerez
Scott Redding missed out on a second successive pole position by the narrowest of margins, but the 20-year-old Briton will start tomorrow’s Spanish Moto2 Grand Prix from the front row after qualifying in second place this afternoon.
The Marc VDS rider has been consistently fast all weekend at Jerez, topping the timesheet in yesterday’s second free practice session and ending the opening day second on combined times. Redding led the way in qualifying until the final ten minutes of the session, before being pushed back to second by a flying lap from Tito Rabat.
Mika Kallio looked to have solved his rear traction issues this morning, with the 30-year-old Finn finishing free practice in 9th position, despite a minor crash at turn six late in the session. However, with the track temperature rising ahead of the 45-minute qualifying session, the grip issues returned to hamper Kallio, who will start tomorrow’s race from 15th on the grid.
Livio Loi’s first Moto3 qualifying session was a real baptism of fire. The 16-year-old Belgian set his fastest time of the weekend on his first qualifying run, but was then held up by traffic on his next two pit exits. Loi will start tomorrow’s Spanish Moto3 Grand Prix from the 7th row of the grid, after eventually qualifying 21st.
Scott Redding #45: 2nd – 1’43.698
“I’ve been fast and comfortable in every session, but Rabat’s been strong all weekend and consistently quicker than me. In qualifying I was working hard and managed to hold onto pole for most of the session, until Rabat put it all together at the end. I haven’t seen his lap, but I know it must have been something special; I could get to within a couple of tenths, but I felt really on the limit doing it. For me the front row is enough and we’re pretty much set for tomorrow’s race. The bike’s working well, we know what to expect from the tyres, so we’ll just have to see how we go.”
Mika Kallio #36: 15th – 1’44.402
“Normally I come to Jerez looking to do well, as the track suits my riding style. This weekend, however, we just haven’t been able to find the rear grip we need. We made some changes to the bike last night and there was a small improvement this morning in free practice but, as soon as the track temperature went up as it did for qualifying, the rear grip became and issue again. We’ll look to make some more changes for the race, which we’ll try out in warm up, but I think it’s just going to be a case of full gas and go for tomorrow. The only good thing is that the race is a few hours earlier than qualifying, so the track temperature won’t be as high as it was this afternoon.”
Livio Loi #11: 21st – 1’48.742
“It wasn’t a bad first qualifying. For most of the session I was able to run in the top 15 or 16, but then I hit a lot of traffic on my last pit exit and dropped to 21st on the grid, as other riders were able to improve their lap times. When you look at the times we’re all very close, with only seven tenths separating the riders from ninth to 21st on the grid, so anything is possible in the race tomorrow.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Scott made every single lap in practice count, his consistency has been incredible and his confidence is sky high. He missed out on a second successive pole position only thanks to an exceptional lap by Tito Rabat, but Scott’s race pace is good and we know he can maintain it on worn tyres. I fully expect him to be up at the front in the race, throwing a spanner into the works of what looks like being a Spanish party tomorrow. Mika had a tough day yesterday and, despite making improvements to the bike, just couldn’t find the confidence he needed to qualify higher than 15th. We’ve seen him battle through the field before in races, so it come as no surprise when he does it again tomorrow. Livio learned a lot today. I know he’s disappointed to only qualify 21st, but he made a few small mistakes and, when the field is as close as it is in Moto3, they can mean the difference between row four and row seven on the grid. Tomorrow he needs to focus on riding his own race. If he finishes top 20 on his debut then I’ll be happy enough with that.”