Front row start for Redding after rain disrupts Le Mans qualifying
Scott Redding will start tomorrow’s Moto2 French Grand Prix at Le Mans from the front row of the grid, after posting the second fastest time in this afternoon’s rain disrupted qualifying session at Le Mans. Mika Kallio will start from the fourth row of the grid after qualifying tenth fastest this afternoon.
Despite a crash at La Chapelle during free practice this morning, Redding went into this afternoon’s all-important 45-minute qualifying session full of confidence and determined to push for his second pole position of the season.
With rain clouds looming around the Le Mans circuit, the 20-year-old Briton was quick to claim provisional pole, but was pushed back to second by Takaaki Nakagami, just as the rain finally arrived at Le Mans. With conditions worsening as the session drew to a close, Redding was forced to settle for second place on the grid and his third front row start of the season.
Kallio has struggled to find a good feeling with his Kalex Moto2 machine all weekend at Le Mans. Set-up changes after this morning’s free practice gave some improvement, however, which allowed the 30-year-old Finn to claim tenth position on the grid during this afternoon’s qualifying session.
Kallio will try a number of additional set-up changes in tomorrow’s warm up session in preparation for tomorrow’s 26-lap Moto2 race, which gets underway at 12.20 local time.
Scott Redding #45: 2nd – 1’38.858
“I was up for taking another pole position today, as I definitely had the pace here, despite the small crash this morning. Unfortunately the timing was wrong, in a session that was more of a sprint than qualifying is normally. I put in a fast lap right at the start but, unfortunately, Taka got a lap behind me, which was all he needed to take pole. I thought I could come back, but then the rain arrived and that was it. Anyway, I’m happy enough with the front row, especially as I’m ahead of Espargaro and Rabat on the grid. We also got some time on the bike in the wet this afternoon, which could be important given that there’s a good chance of rain tomorrow.”
Mika Kallio #36: 10th – 1’39.558
“The goal is always to be in the first nine and on the front three rows, so I’m a little disappointed to miss out on that by such a small margin today. We’ve had some issues with the bike all weekend and, while the changes we made for qualifying improved things slightly, there’s still something missing. I think if we can find just a little more from the bike tomorrow in warm up then it should be possible for me to make up the rest of the time we miss to the fastest guys. If we can do that, and I get a good start in the race, then top five is possible. If it rains tomorrow, which is looking likely, then everything changes anyway.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“I’m sorry that the rain meant Scott didn’t get the chance to try and retake pole position, as he’s been pretty dominant here all weekend during practice. But, he’s on the front row and ahead of his two closest rivals in the championship, who have both seen how fast and consistent he is here at Le Mans. Wet or dry tomorrow I think Scott has every chance of being on the podium once again. Mika hasn’t been able to find a good feeling with the bike this weekend, which has knocked his confidence a little, but his best performance so far came in qualifying and I know that’s all the motivation he will need to fight for a top five finish tomorrow. It will be hard, but he’s done it before and I’ve no doubt he can do it again, whatever the conditions in the race.”