Podium for Redding at Qatar season opener
The Marc VDS Racing team got their 2013 World Championship campaign off to a flying start, with Scott Redding riding a superlative race to second place and Mika Kallio bringing his Kalex Moto2 machine home in fifth position.
Once early race leader Takaaki Nakagami had been despatched, Redding and Pol Espargaro put on a racing master class, going wheel to wheel on the Losail International Circuit until the final lap, when Espargaro held on to take the win.
Kallio was forced wide by another rider in the opening laps and was pushed back to tenth as a result. The 30-year-old Finn fought his way back through the field, only to lose the slipstreaming battle for fourth place to Dominique Aegerter at the finish line.
Redding is the heaviest rider on the Moto2 grid, while Kallio is the lightest. Proof, if any was needed, that the combined minimum weight limit introduced for this season has levelled the playing field for everyone.
Scott Redding #45: 2nd Position
“I’m happy to get the season started with a podium here in Qatar. I lost the clutch on the sighting lap, which is a problem we had in practice and qualifying. The guys managed to fix it on the grid, but it wasn’t right for the first few laps and the bike was really aggressive on corner entry. In the end I just feathered the clutch going into the turns until it sorted itself out. I wasn’t expecting to lead here, so I didn’t really have a plan once I got to the front, other than to keep a good rhythm and maintain my pace. It was a good battle with Pol; I thought I had him on the last lap, but he’s a tough rider and I couldn’t quite make it through. Next time I know to try that little bit harder to push him into a mistake. Thanks to the team for their hard work, and thanks also to Marc van der Straten for his support.”
Mika Kallio #36: 5th Position
“The chance of a podium for me was gone in the first few laps, unfortunately. I got pushed wide in one turn and, in Moto2, it’s not just one rider than goes up your inside when that happens. After that it took a while for me to find my rhythm and start moving back up through the field. It was hard to overtake, because our engine doesn’t seem to have the push we need out of the turns, but I eventually fought my way through to fourth, only to be pushed wide in the final turn by Aegerter. I tried to slipstream him to the line, but I just didn’t have the power from the engine to do it. It could have been better today, but fifth will do for the first race.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“What a race, and what a start to the season for the team. Scott rode a superb race, from lap one until the end. He closed down the early leader and then fought out a fantastic battle with Pol Espargaro, only to lose out on the final lap. It was a real spectacle, and one I hope we’ll see time and again this season. Mika isn’t too happy with fifth, because he was also looking for a podium here, but he should be pleased with such a good result. He lost out in the early stages, but rode a good second half of the race to finally finish inside the top five. So, a great job by everyone in the team, a fantastic start for both riders and now we just need to carry this momentum into the remaining rounds, starting in Texas in two weeks time.”