Kallio takes pole position at Jerez

Kallio takes pole position at Jerez

Jerez, Spain – 3 May 2014: Mika Kallio maintained the Marc VDS Racing Team’s perfect qualifying record today by taking pole position for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez. Tito Rabat will start his home race from the second row after qualifying in sixth position this afternoon.

The blistering conditions at Jerez meant the rear tyre was only good for two flying laps and, with only three of his preferred tyres available, Kallio knew he only had a six lap window to set a qualifying time. The Finn was fast from his first run, but it was on his final tyre that he put in an almost perfect lap to break the 1’43 barrier, the only rider to do so, and to take his first pole position of the season.

Tito Rabat lost valuable track time after an engine failure forced him to sit out most of this morning’s final free practice session. The championship leader could climb no higher than sixth in this afternoon’s qualifying session, but is confident that he can fight for the race win from the second row of the grid tomorrow.

After the highs of Argentina just one week ago, the Marc VDS Racing Team’s Moto3 rider, Livio Loi, experienced the lows of racing this afternoon at Jerez. The 17-year-old Belgian struggled with a lack of rear traction throughout his 40-minute qualifying session, leaving him facing a start from 24th position on the grid tomorrow. 

Mika Kallio // Pole Position // 1’42.766
““Today we had a really good plan, both with the tyres and with the timing of our runs. We saw yesterday that my times were good when we threw in a set of new tyres, but we also saw that we were getting maximum grip from the tyre for only two quick laps. Normally I like to build up over a five or six lap run, but that wasn’t possible today. I had to push from the start of each run, because the time had to come in this two-lap window. Mentally, that’s quite tough, but to manage it without a mistake on my flying laps makes this pole position even more satisfying. The team has done a great job with the bike and I think we have a really good chance in the race tomorrow.”

Tito Rabat // 6th // 1’43.234
“I’m not so happy for today, because obviously I wanted to qualify higher up the grid for my home race, but it’s not always possible. In the end we made not such a bad result with sixth place, so we’ll start tomorrow from the second row of the grid. We need to make some small improvements in warm up, as we lost some time with the engine problem this morning, but the plan, like always, is to fight to win in the race tomorrow.”

Livio Loi // 24th // 1’48.091
“Qualifying today was nothing short of a disaster. I had no rear traction at all; every time I tried to get on the gas the rear just tried to come round on me. I was losing time in every single corner and it was pretty scary in the faster turns here at Jerez. I don’t know why it should have been so bad, but we need to find a solution for tomorrow. For sure the hot conditions didn’t help us today, so it would be good if conditions tomorrow were a little cooler for the race.”

Naoya Kaneko // Chief Mechanic, Mika Kallio
“Pole position here feels better than the last one in Motegi, because this one was done in dry conditions and Mika proved that he could be faster in qualifying, which is one of the areas in which we’ve worked hard to improve. We had a strategy for qualifying, but Mika was very focused today and gave the maximum that was possible with the machine in the six-lap window we had. If we can keep like this in the race, which is our plan, then he can be in a good position and we can maybe open up the championship a little more.”