Podium for Kallio as his championship challenge gathers pace

Podium for Kallio as his championship challenge gathers pace

Hohenstein-Ernstthal, Germany – 13 July 2014: Mika Kallio took a hard fought second place in today’s German Moto2 Grand Prix, after a titanic, race long battle with eventual winner, Dominique Aegerter.

The result saw the Finn close to within 19 points of Marc VDS teammate and World Championship leader, Tito Rabat, who finished fourth at the Sachsenring today.

It was pole sitter Aegerter who made the early running, but Kallio forced his way into the lead on the second lap and immediately tried to gap the field. However, he was unable to shake off the Swiss rider, who eventually made his own move for the lead on lap 26. Kallio responded immediately to head the race once again, but he had no answer when Aegerter came past on the final lap and was forced to settle for second place.

Rabat lost ground in the first three turns on the opening lap and by the time he’d fought his way through to lead the group disputing third place, the gap to Kallio and Aegerter was too big to bridge. The 25-year-old Spaniard looked all set to join his teammate on the podium, but a mistake in the final corner allowed Simone Corsi to claim third place at the chequered flag.

Livio Loi had a day to forget at the Sachsenring. At the start the 17-year-old Belgian was forced off track in turn one as a result of someone else’s crash and, after re-joining the race, was eventually forced to retire when his engine expired.

Mika Kallio // 2nd
“It’s always frustrating to finish a close second, but it was doubly disappointing today because we went into the race knowing that it was ours to lose. Once I got past Aegerter on the second lap I put my head down and tried to pull a gap, but he was glued to my back wheel for almost the whole race. With four laps to go he went past me, but our lap time increased immediately so, rather than wait until the last lap, I decided to go early and retake the lead. On the final lap he got a really good drive out of T11 and there was nothing I could do to stop him coming under me at the bottom of the hill. I tried again in the last corner, but there was no way through. We’ve closed the gap to Tito in the championship standings, which is a good way to go into the summer break, but I think this has only been a warm up. I suspect the real championship battle will only get properly underway when we return to racing at Indianapolis.”

Tito Rabat // 4th
“This weekend we’ve had a lot of problems at a race track that is certainly not my favourite. But after all the hard work we’ve done this weekend, fourth place is a little disappointing, especially as a podium finish was possible until the very last corner. Corsi passed me on the final lap and I was looking to retake third in the final corner, but I made a mistake, went in a bit too hot and ran wide. At the end, we go into the break leading the championship by 19 points. We have some work to do now before we head to Indianapolis to start the second half of the season.”

Livio Loi // DNF
“This is not the way I wanted to end the first half of the season. I was unlucky at the start; a rider crashed in front of me and I had nowhere else to go but the gravel trap. I had to actually get off the bike and push it back to the track to re-join the race, which obviously lost me a lot of time. Straight away there was a problem with the engine; the bike was revving but the power just wasn’t there. Again, I decided to continue, but kept my hand ready on the clutch just in case the engine seized. Coming out of T11 and down the hill the engine lost all power and I could only freewheel down to T12 and retire.  Obviously I’m disappointed, but luck was not on my side today.”

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“I know Mika is disappointed to have finished second today, but he should take consolation in the fact that he rode a fantastic race. All season he’s struggled with the harder rear tyres but through sheer hard work by him and his crew, he turned a disadvantage into an advantage this weekend. The consistency of his lap times when he was leading the race was incredible and it’s the first time I’ve ever seen a rider post two consecutive race laps with an identical lap time. Tito has struggled a little this weekend, at a track that hasn’t been kind to him in the past, so to finish fourth today was a good result, although I know he’s kicking himself for missing out on the podium by such a narrow margin. Both riders need to use the summer break to recharge their batteries, as I suspect they’re going to be fighting tooth and nail for the championship in the second half of the season. Livio had no luck today. He was pushed off track at the start as a result of someone else’s crash and then, after re-joining the race, was forced to retire with his first mechanical problem of the year. Not a great way to end the first half of the season, especially as both issues were unavoidable.”