Kallio and Redding go head to head at Aragon
The Marc VDS Racing Team return to action this weekend at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain, the venue for round 13 of the 2012 Moto2 World Championship.
Mika Kallio heads to Spain with his sights set firmly on the podium and improving his position in the championship. The 29-year-old Finn currently lies sixth in the championship, but fourth place last time out at Misano saw Kallio close to within five points of fifth place, a slot currently occupied by his Marc VDS teammate, Scott Redding.
Kallio is the rider in form at the moment, having received upgrades to his Kalex Moto2 machine during a recent test at the Valellunga circuit, which improved the all-important front end feel and all but eliminated the mid-race chatter that has plagued him all season. But if Kallio thinks Redding is going to give up his fifth position in the championship without a fight then he could be in for a rude awakening this weekend in Aragon.
Redding has more than just his teammate to consider at Aragon, however. Since the start of the season the 19-year-old Briton has been struggling with carpal tunnel syndrome, but the condition has worsened considerably in recent weeks. As a result, the Marc VDS rider had no option but to undergo a carpal tunnel decompression operation on his right wrist immediately after the MIsano race.
Redding is confident that the operation won't cause him any problems on the bike, but he's also well aware that with Aragon coming just two weeks into a four week post operation recovery period, this weekend could well be a painful one for him.
The Aragon circuit is the newest addition to the Moto2 World Championship calendar. Situated inland from Zaragoza and the Mediterranean coast, the 5.078km track features seven right and ten left corners and a main straight almost one kilometre in length. Although it hosted its first Grand Prix only two years ago, the Aragon circuit has already established itself as a favourite with riders and fans alike.
Mika Kallio #36
“With the gap between me and Scott in the championship standings down to just five points, the last five races promise to be quite interesting! The first person you need to beat is your teammate, and that's exactly what I'll be trying to do between now and the last race in Valencia. Scott will be doing exactly the same, so it should make for a good fight, but there are 31 other riders on the grid that we need to beat and we can't afford to lose sight of that while we're battling each other. My feeling with the bike and my results have improved with every race and I hope we can continue in the same direction this weekend at Aragon. I was fourth last time out in Misano, so it would be good to go one better and finish on the podium at Aragon.”
Scott Redding #45
“I've had the carpal tunnel problem in my right wrist for a few years, but in the past it was manageable with therapy. This season the therapy hasn't worked and in a few races my right hand has gone completely numb and I couldn't feel how much pressure I was applying to the front brake – not good when you need to be braking on the limit at every corner. That's why I decided to get the operation done now, rather than waiting until the end of the season. It means I won't be fully recovered for this weekend, but I'll be back to full fitness in Japan, ready for the last four races of the season. The wrist won't be a problem on the bike at Aragon, although it will probably be a bit sore, but then I have my championship position to defend from my teammate and adrenaline is the best painkiller!”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Mika's consistency this season has been impressive. He's the only Moto2 rider to have finished in the points in every race so far this season, and all but one of those finishes have been inside the top ten. He's chipped away at Scott's lead in the championship and now, after his fourth place in Misano, there is just five points between the two of them in the standings. Both will be keen to finish the season as top dog in the team – it's always the way with teammates – but they also need to remain focussed on beating the other riders, not just each other. Scott also has to deal with the effects of the surgery on his right wrist this weekend. We were hoping to wait until the end of the season before he went under the surgeon's knife, but the problem was getting worse and, in the end, we were left with no choice. He won't be fully fit for Aragon, but having the surgery now means he'll be 100% fit again from Japan onwards and I expect him to finish the season strongly.”