On form Redding leads the way at Le Mans
Scott Redding wasted no time in stamping his authority on proceedings during the opening day at Le Mans, topping the timesheet in both free practice session to lay down a marker for his championship rivals.
Mika Kallio was a little disappointed to finish the day only 13th fastest, despite improving his lap time this afternoon, to close to within a second of his Marc VDS teammate. The 30-year-old Finn still lacks the all-important confidence in the front of his Kalex Moto23 machine, a situation he is confident will be rectified by set-up changes ahead of tomorrow morning’s third and final free practice session.
Jules Danilo, who is making his Moto3 Grand Prix debut as a wild card rider this weekend at Le Mans, ended the day 17th fastest overall. The French rider, who celebrates his 18th birthday tomorrow, is confident of making further improvements ahead of the all-important qualifying session.
After struggling to find confidence in the front tyre in the cold conditions of this morning’s free practice session, it was the rear that caused Livio Loi issues this afternoon. Pumping from the rear suspension under acceleration meant the 16-year-old Belgian was unable to push for a fast lap time and he ended the day 20th on the timesheet.
Scott Redding #45: 1st – 1'38.203
“I like the Le Mans circuit, so my confidence was high coming into this weekend, especially off the back of three good results at tracks that were either new or a little unkind to me in the past. I’m feeling good on the bike here; we’ve had a couple of small issues during practice, but nothing that we haven’t been able to sort out quickly. The lap times today came without really pushing hard, so I know there’s more to come in qualifying if I need it. But this is Le Mans, so who knows what the weather will throw at us tomorrow. It could be dry or it could be wet, either way I think we’re in a good way here with the bike and the set-up.”
Mika Kallio #36: 13th – 1'39.174
“We ran the set-up we tested at Almeria this morning, but it didn’t give me the feeling with the front end that I was looking for. It meant I didn’t have the confidence on corner entry and that lost me a lot of time. We made some improvements to the front for the second session, but there’s still something missing. The bike just doesn’t feel right when I trail the brake into the corners. We have a few ideas for tomorrow, but we need to sit down tonight and decide in which direction to go. I’m not so happy with 13th but with the problems we’ve had, to finish within a second of Scott’s time is not too bad.”
Jules Danilo #95: 17th – 1’46.157
“We had some problems with the bike this morning, but the team managed to get everything sorted for this afternoon’s second free practice session. I’m happy with how things have gone today, as I felt confident on the bike this afternoon and we managed to improve the lap time with every exit. We still have a few things we want to improve on the bike but, overall, it’s been a good opening day at my first ever Grand Prix.”
Livio Loi #11: 20th – 1’46.295
“The track temperature was very low this morning, so it was difficult to have confidence in the front tyre. Conditions had improved for FP2, but I had a real problem with the rear suspension pumping under acceleration. Even with a new rear tyre the bike was unsettled on the throttle and I was losing time out of every corner. We need to fix the problem tonight ready for tomorrow, as you can win a lot of time on a Moto3 bike by getting on the gas both hard and early on corner exit, which I couldn’t do today.”