Kallio on the pace as Redding’s injuries take their toll in Valencia

Kallio on the pace as Redding’s injuries take their toll in Valencia

Mika Kallio ended the opening day at Valencia, the final race of the 2013 season, in 7th position on the timesheet, after devoting today’s two free practice sessions to evaluating suspension changes on his Kalex Moto2 machine.

The injuries sustained in crashes in Australia and Japan took their toll on Scott Redding today, with the 20-year-old Briton having to ride through the pain barrier in this afternoon’s second free practice to finish 15th.

Kallio was on the pace from the start of the opening free practice session this morning, but sacrificed fast laps in order to test a different set-up on his Kalex Moto2 machine. While the change to the rear suspension offered improvements in some areas, the Finn, who celebrates his 31st birthday today, set the seventh fastest time of the day after switching back to the previous set-up.

The back injury sustained in his first lap crash in Motegi, combined with the wrist he fractured in Australia, meant Scott Redding endured a painful start to his last race weekend with the Marc VDS Racing Team. The Marc VDS rider modified his riding style in the afternoon to compensate for the injuries, which are exacerbated by the number of left-hand corners at Valencia, to meet his target of finishing inside the top 15.

Livio Loi once again struggled to find a good feeling with his Kalex-KTM Moto3 machine during the opening day at Valencia, which he finished in 24th position. While the Marc VDS rider’s crew will look to make improvements to the bike ahead of tomorrow’s final free practice session, the biggest improvement must come from Loi himself, as he’s currently lacking the confidence in the front of the bike needed to close the gap to the top of the timesheet.

Mika Kallio #36 // 7th // 1’36.119
“I’m not where I expected to be today. I was expecting to be closer to the front, but now I’m about half a second off. This morning the feeling was there, I got into a rhythm quite quickly and the lap times were good before we made changes to the set-up. We started this afternoon on the same set-up, to continue the evaluation, but we switched back for my last pit exit, as the changes didn’t really give us the improvements we were expecting. Track conditions were different this afternoon, so it was difficult to get back up to speed once we’d changed the bike back, but eventually the lap times came. We’re not so far off, but we need to close the gap tomorrow.”

Scott Redding #45 // 15th // 1’36.751 // @Reddingpower
“After the crashes in Australia and Japan I’m quite banged up. With the back injury I have no power to support my wrist, which, combined with an anticlockwise circuit with more left hand corners than right, isn’t the best situation. It was better this afternoon; this morning there was a lot of pain. We have some more ideas to try for tomorrow, to support the wrist more, because it’s hard work basically riding with one arm. Japan wasn’t so bad, with the straight braking and a mix of corners, but here the first three corners are left-handers, and then there’s the long left, so it’s difficult. But, we hit our target of being top 15 today, so now we have to look towards the top ten tomorrow. Doing race distance will be difficult but, hopefully, the adrenaline will take away some of the pain!”

Livio Loi #11 // 24th // 1’42.146 // @LivioLoi
“Why the feeling isn’t there with the bike when it was good two weeks ago in Japan is a mystery. I can do 1’42s laps all day, but when I push to go quicker it’s like I’m blocked; I want to go faster, but it’s just not possible. When I go to improve, I can’t seem to get the bike to do what I want. There’s only so much that my crew can do with the bike, the rest has to come from me. I need to rediscover the confidence in the bike I had in Japan and I need to do it quickly, otherwise we’re going to find ourselves in a difficult position come qualifying tomorrow.”