Kallio storms through to seventh in Malaysian monsoon
Mika Kallio stormed through the field not once but twice today, to take a hard fought seventh place finish in a Moto2 race that saw the worst of the Malaysian weather. Scott Redding started strongly, but faded after struggling for rear grip and eventually finished 12th.
Kallio got a flying start from the fifth row of the grid, making up places in the braking area for the tight right-hand turn one. The 29-year-old Finn got pushed wide in the corner, but continued to pick up places during the first half of the lap. Unfortunately for Kallio he ended up the innocent victim in a crash between Xavier Simeon and Johann Zarco, whose sliding bikes pushed Kallio off track.
The Marc VDS rider rejoined the race in 29th position, but immediately started his charge back through the field. Picking off riders on every lap, Kallio had fought his way through in seventh position when the race was red flagged due to heavy rain.
Redding took advantage of starting from second position on the grid, his best qualifying performance this season, to run with the leading group during the early stages of the race. The 19-year-old Briton has struggled this weekend with a lack of rear grip in wet conditions, and the problem returned with a vengeance in the race.
The Marc VDS rider found himself unable to match the pace of the front-runners in the worsening conditions, but managed to maintain a good rhythm and defend 12th place, and the championship points that went with it, to the chequered flag.
The Marc VDS Racing Team now head straight for Australia, to contest the penultimate round of the 2012 FIM Moto2 World Championship at Phillip Island, which takes place next weekend.
Mika Kallio #36: 7th Position
“My start was good and I made up places in the braking area for turn one, but then I got hit by a bike on the inside and pushed out wide. I managed to make up a few more places in the first half of the lap, but then Simeon and Zarco crashed on my inside and both their bikes hit me. I managed to stay on, just, but had to run off track and rejoined in 29th place. I knew I had good pace in the rain, so I just got my head down and picked off riders as I came across them. It was difficult to maintain a good rhythm, as there were a lot of much slow riders to contend with early on, but I'd managed to fight my way back to seventh when the race was red flagged. It's a bit disappointing, as I could have been up there at the front if I hadn't been forced off track on the opening lap.”
Scott Redding #45: 12th Position
“I found myself up at the front from the start, but only because everyone else was really steady from the off. I was struggling almost immediately for rear grip on corner entry, every time I closed the throttle to turn in the rear tried to come round on me. In the end I found the limit and tried to stay inside it but it wasn't easy, just staying on the bike was difficult enough today. I've closed a little on Tom Lüthi in the championship, but after such a promising showing in the dry here in Malaysia, today's wet race was something of a disappointment.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Mika has struggled to find a workable dry set-up this weekend, mainly due to time lost to mechanical issues. However, it was immediately obvious today that he had a wet set-up he was confident with and he was charging from the start. He stormed his way through the field from 29th to seventh and, without the off-track excursion as a result of the crash between Zarco and Simeon on the opening lap, I'm confident he'd have been on for a podium finish today. We knew Scott would struggle in the wet, as the rear grip on turn in has been an issue here since day one. We did manage to improve the bike for the race, but the problem was still there. He did a good job to bring it home in the points, closing the gap on Tom Lüthi and fourth place in the championship in the process.”