Kallio fastest in difficult conditions at Jerez
It was a positive opening day at Jerez for the Marc VDS Racing Team, with Mika Kallio finished second fastest overall after topping the timesheet in this afternoon's free practice session. Scott Redding was fifth fastest in this morning's wet free practice, but slipped to 11th overall after sitting out much of the afternoon session.
Redding was quick to make his mark in this morning's wet session, building confidence in the bike and tyres with every pit exit, before setting his fastest time on the last of his 14 laps. Kallio had some set-up issues early in the session, leaving him in 17th position after he only managed to complete ten laps.
The situation was reversed during this afternoon's free practice session, which was frequently interrupted by rain showers that left too many damp patches on the track for slicks and not enough standing water for wets. After improving on his time from the morning, Redding then opted to sit out the remainder of the session, rather than risk a crash in the tricky conditions.
Kallio used this afternoon's free practice to continue working on machine set-up. The 29-year-old Finn made a number of changes to the front suspension on his Kalex Moto2 machine, before topping the timesheet right at the end of the session with his final flying lap.
More rain is forecast for Jerez, both for tomorrow's free practice and qualifying sessions and, more importantly, for Sunday's race.
Mika Kallio #36: 2nd – 1'55.675
“Conditions this afternoon were really tricky and not really what we were hoping for. We managed to make some improvements to the front of the bike, which I wasn't so happy with this morning, so it was still a positive session for us. The track conditions weren't ideal, but I managed to get a good feel for the bike right at the end and it's always good to finish the day at the top of the timesheet. Hopefully the conditions won't be like this for the race, but if they are then at least we know we've got a good race set-up.”
Scott Redding #45: 11th – 1'57.019
“I had some problems in the wet last season, because I didn't get any feedback from the Suter Moto2 bike, so this morning was all about rebuilding confidence. The feedback from the Kalex is much more direct, even in the wet, so it didn't take long for the confidence to return. This afternoon we just couldn’t seem to get a break. I came back in from the first run to switch to slicks and it started raining, so I went back out on wets and the track started to dry. So, I came back for slicks and it started raining again. I just gave up in the end; it wasn't worth the risk. Hopefully tomorrow will be wet or dry, but not both at the same time like it was this afternoon!”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Both riders did a good job today. Scott was unlucky to get caught out by the conditions this afternoon – every time he switched tyres the weather changed – but he was fast in the wet this morning. We've been saying to Mika that he needs to stay out for longer in practice, to get a better feel for the bike before making changes, and that's exactly what he did in this afternoon's difficult conditions. It paid off for him, as he was fastest in the session and second fastest overall today. I'm confident that both riders can qualify well tomorrow whatever the conditions, but we'd obviously prefer it to be wet or dry, not a mix of both like it was today.”