Marc VDS confident of podium challenge in Le Mans
The Marc VDS Racing Team will start tomorrow’s French Moto2 round at Le Mans confident of mounting a double podium challenge after Scott Redding and Mika Kallio qualified inside the top six this afternoon.
British rider Redding heads the second row of the grid in fourth position after he posted a best time of 1.38.369, which saw him denied a second consecutive front row start by just 0.179s.
The 19-year-old excelled in practice to finish second fastest overall and he was confident he could have pushed for the front row only for late rain and a small crash to thwart his bid.
This afternoon’s session was building up to a typically exciting climax when rain that had affected the earlier MotoGP and Moto3 sessions began to fall with just five minutes left on the clock.
Small spots of rain were falling at almost every corner and pushing to try and improve his pace, Redding ran off track in the final two minutes and despite a valiant attempt to keep control of his Kalex machine he toppled over in the gravel trap.
Kallio is also optimistic he will be challenging at the front in tomorrow’s 26-lap race having joined Redding on the second row in sixth position.
He set a best time of 1.38.574 to finish just over 0.2s behind Redding, but it could have been a better outcome had the Finnish rider not been called upon to produce a heroic save at the final corner on his last flying lap.
He had set personal best splits in the first three sectors of the historic Bugatti circuit, but lost the front-end at the final corner, Kallio expertly keeping his Kalex machine upright.
Scott Redding #45: 4th Position – 1'38.369
“It was a decent session and I can’t complain to be fourth on the grid but the rain spots right at the end probably cost me a front row. I’ve been fast and competitive and inside the top three all weekend, so it would have been nice to be on the front row. It was hard to judge where the grip was at the end and to be honest I should have cracked on a bit earlier. It took me a bit too long to get into a rhythm but I’m not a million miles away, so I’m confident I will be battling at the front in the race tomorrow. The crash at the end was a shame but I just couldn’t keep it on two wheels in the gravel. I’d rather that happen today though than in the race!”
Mika Kallio #36: 6th Position – 1'38.574
“Starting from the second row always give you a good chance to go away with the leading group in the race, so I am happy about that. The goal is always to be higher but my pace has been consistent and fast, though the gap to the top two is bigger than I would have liked. It was strange because when I got to my best lap time I felt very comfortable and felt I had some margin to improve. But when I started to push to improve it felt like something was holding me back and I’m not sure what was causing this feeling. I’m disappointed about that but we will check the data tonight to see if we can understand more. I might have been a bit higher up though because the lap before the rain spots started to fall, I was faster in the first three sectors and in the last corner I lost the front. I was really close to crashing and without that maybe I would have been fourth instead of Scott. But I’m confident for the race and sure I will be fighting for the podium.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“When we look at how Scott has been so fast and competitive throughout practice yesterday and this morning, we were pretty confident that he would be starting the race from the front row. The conditions were a little bit tricky and that didn’t make it easy but the good thing is Scott was still fast and consistent and able to qualify just off the front row. It is a good starting position to make a good race and the important thing is that he has demonstrated all weekend that he has the pace. Mika has also been challenging inside the top six all weekend too, so we are really looking forward to seeing both our riders battling for the podium tomorrow. That would be a perfect situation to reward the support of our loyal and valued sponsor Elf in the French Grand Prix.”