Kallio on the podium as Redding’s title dreams dashed at Motegi
Mika Kallio took his fourth podium of the season with second place in this afternoon’s Japanese Moto2 Grand Prix at Motegi. Scott Redding’s title hopes were shattered on the opening lap of the race, when Tito Rabat crashed in front of him and the 20-year-old Briton collided with the Spaniard’s bike.
The race was red flagged as a result of the incident but, having severely bruised his right arm, right leg and also wrecked the bike in the crash, Redding was unable to take to the grid for the 15-lap restart.
It was a bitter blow for Redding, who sustained a broken wrist just one week ago in Australia but rode through the pain barrier here at Motegi to try and keep his title hopes alive. Pol Espargaro was crowned the 2013 Moto2 World Champion today, after winning the penultimate race of the season.
Kallio got a flyer from the start, but was unable to hold off a challenge on the opening lap from Espargaro, who quickly pulled out a gap at the front of the race. The 30-year-old Finn chased hard, but just didn’t have the set-up to match the Spaniard’s pace and was forced to settle for second at the chequered flag, three seconds ahead of third placed Tom Lüthi.
Today’s podium for Kallio saw him move to within 19 points of third place in the championship standings, a position currently occupied by Rabat
Livio Loi secured his best result of the 2013 season with 12th place at Motegi, despite only having had two sessions on the track prior to today’s Japanese Moto3 Grand Prix.
Because of cancellations due to the weather on Friday and Saturday morning, the 16-year-old Belgian’s first outing on the Twin Ring Motegi circuit came during yesterday’s wet qualifying, which he finished in 25th position. Today Loi got a good start, making up places in the early stages of the race to eventually join the battle for a top ten finish. The Marc VDS rider looked set to claim tenth until an error on the final lap saw him drop back to 12th at the chequered flag.
Mika Kallio #36 // 2nd
“I’m happy with the 20 points for second, but disappointed not to have won here at Motegi today. The feeling was good, the pace was good and this track has always been a little bit special for me in the past, but I Pol was just to fast for me. I made a couple of small mistakes early on that allowed him to pull enough of a gap that it was impossible to catch him. Normally I’d be satisfied to be on the podium, but I’ve won many times before at this track and, today, I was expecting more.”
Scott Redding #45 // DNS // @Reddingpower
“When Tito went down in front of me I did everything I could to avoid him, but I couldn’t avoid hitting the bike and I went down too. It’s disappointing, obviously, not just because of everything we’ve been through just to race here this weekend but also because there was nobody left to take the fight to Pol with both Tito and me out of the race. The championship’s gone and, although it wasn’t through want of trying, that doesn’t make it an easier to accept. The important thing is to get over it, come back strong and finish the season on a high at Valencia. Congratulations to Pol on winning the title; it was a good battle and I’m just sorry we couldn’t take it down to the wire.”
Livio Loi #11 // 12th // @LivioLoi
“It was a difficult race, because it’s not easy to make up so many places when you start from 25th on the grid. But I managed to push my way through in the early part of the race, with some good lap times, and was involved in the battle for the top ten for much of the race. On the final lap, I made a small mistake at turn two, allowing a couple of riders to out brake me later in the lap, which meant I missed out on my first top ten finish. So, while I’m happy to leave Japan with my best result of the season so far, I’m a little bit disappointed to miss out on tenth place. For next time the qualifying needs to be better, so I can run with the group in front during the race.”
Michael Bartholemy // Team Principal
“With Mika on the podium and Livio securing his best result of the season, this should have been a good weekend for us. However, Scott losing out on the championship, as a result of someone else’s crash, overshadowed the good results. The hard work that’s gone into getting him fit to race here came to nothing in the end, and that’s difficult to accept. But, what’s done is done and now we need to move on. After a difficult weekend because of the weather, both Mika and Livio rode good races today. Mika picked up his fourth podium of the season, to close even further on third place in the championship, while Livio fought hard only to miss out on a top ten finish by the narrowest of margins. Both will go into the final round in Valencia looking to end the season on a high, as will Scott, and that’s now our main goal. Congratulations on the title to Sito Pons and Pol Espargaro; a respected rival and a worthy champion.”