Kallio secures his first Moto2 pole position at Motegi

Kallio secures his first Moto2 pole position at Motegi

Mika Kallio secured his first Moto2 pole position this afternoon with an impressive qualifying performance in difficult conditions at Motegi. Scott Redding qualified 15th today, just a week after fracturing the radius in his left arm.

With all of yesterday’s and this morning’s free practice sessions cancelled as a result of the weather, the first time Kallio and Redding took to the track at Motegi was for an extended qualifying this afternoon.

Kallio was quick to adapt to the conditions during this afternoon’s hour-long qualifying session, which started wet but with a dry line starting to appear before the end. The 30-year-old Finn was consistently top five on the timesheet, before securing pole position with his final flying lap on a new set of wet tyres.

Conditions for tomorrow’s 23-lap Moto2 race are forecast to be dry but Kallio, three times a winner at Motegi in the past, is confident he can take maximum advantage from his pole position start to fight for the win.

Redding was passed fit to ride by circuit medical staff on Thursday afternoon, but his return to the track was delayed until today’s qualifying session by the weather conditions that have proved so disruptive to proceedings at Motegi.

The 20-year-old Briton was fast in the wet, jumping up to second on the timesheet behind his Marc VDS teammate, but erred on the side of caution when the drying track started to make grip more unpredictable. Redding is confident that his injury will cause no issues in the race tomorrow, regardless of whether conditions are wet or dry.

While his Moto2 teammates both have previous experience of the Motegi circuit, for Livio Loi this afternoon’s 55-minute Moto3 qualifying session was the first time he had seen the track from the seat of a bike. The 16-year-old Belgian’s learning curve was made even steeper by the fact that the session was run in very wet conditions, with standing water still evident on some sections of the track.

Despite the obvious disadvantages, Loi qualified 25th this afternoon, just 3.208s off the time of pole sitter, Alex Rins.

Mika Kallio #36 // Pole Position // 2’01.248
“It’s difficult to go straight into qualifying with no practice at all, but I had a good feeling with the bike from the start, so it was possible to push straight away. I thought it might dry enough for a slick right at the end, so we waited before the final exit, but a dry line never really appeared, so I made the last exit on a new set of wets. I pushed, like everyone else, and it was enough for pole. I’m really happy for that, but the important day is tomorrow. The race will be completely different if it’s dry, but let’s see. Always here my feeling is quite good, it doesn’t matter on what bike, so we’ll get on the gas tomorrow and see what happens.”

Scott Redding #45 // 15th // 2’02.985 // @Reddingpower
“The wrist was a little painful, but it was more awkward to try and change the weight a little bit. I felt good in the rain, comfortable and fast, but as the track started to dry it got a bit greasy. It meant the chance of a crash increased and that’s the last thing I need my first time back on the bike after the crash, so I was a bit more cautious. Finishing P15 was good enough for me today and now I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow. If it’s dry, as the forecast says, then I need to score points. Top ten is the goal, but I think it’s possible to finish a little higher than that. We will see.”

Livio Loi #11 // 25th // 2’12.595 // @LivioLoi
“Motegi is a new track for me, so the first part of qualifying was spent learning my way around. Halfway through the session it started raining heavily and there was a lot of spray, which meant I was struggling to find my braking markers, braking too early for every corner. The last part of qualifying, when I’d found a good rhythm was better and I was able to improve my time by almost a second on every lap. The only problem was that it was too late in the practice; I could have done with more track time. Now we need to improve further in free practice tomorrow, ahead of the race, which is supposed to be run in dry conditions, so very different to today.”

Timetable – Sunday 27th October
Free Practice  
Moto3 08.00 – 08.40
Moto2 08.50 – 09.30
MotoGP 09.40 – 10.30
Moto3 11.00 – 20 Laps/96.600km
Moto2 12.20 – 23 Laps/110.423km
MotoGP 14.00 – 24 Laps/115.224km