Pole position for Scott Redding at Mugello
Scott Redding will start tomorrow’s Italian Moto2 Grand Prix from pole position, after bouncing back – quite literally – from a session ending crash during final free practice this morning. Mika Kallio qualified 13th, despite continuing issues with the set-up of his Kalex Moto2 machine.
Redding started the day in spectacular fashion by launching his bike into the gravel trap just three laps into the final free practice session. While the 20-year-old Briton walked away uninjured, the bike was almost completely destroyed after somersaulting up the track. As a result, Redding sat out the remainder of the session, as his mechanics worked to rebuild the engine into a new frame for qualifying.
With his confidence undented by the crash, Redding was immediately on the pace in the 45-minute qualifying session, improving his lap time with every exit and eventually securing his second pole position of the season as the session came to a close.
Mika Kallio continued to struggle with the bike trying to sit up while trail braking into the corners, although minor set-up changes ahead of qualifying did result in a small improvement. The 30-year-old Finn did what he could to ride around the problem but the time lost, especially through the chicanes, meant he was unable to qualify higher than 13th today.
The handling issues that had plagued Livio Loi throughout free practice at Mugello continued to cause problems for the 16-year-old Belgian in today’s 40-minute Moto3 qualifying session. Loi was disappointed to qualify only 30th for tomorrow’s 20-lap Moto3 race, which he will start from the tenth row of the grid.
Scott Redding #45: Pole Position – 1'52.958
“I wasn’t really expecting pole today, especially after the crash this morning. While it was a small crash for me, the same wasn’t true of the bike, which was pretty much wrecked. I have to say a big thank you to my mechanics, but also to Mika’s, as they all pitched in to get me a new bike built up for qualifying. After two laps I’d forgotten about this morning completely, despite a bit of a moment in the same place early on. The new bike felt better than the previous one, after a few set-up changes ahead of qualifying, so I was able to find a good rhythm straight away. Then it was just a case of staying out of the way and picking off the laps. I’m happy to be on pole for the second time this season, but now we need to focus on the race.”
Mika Kallio #36: 13th – 1'53.910
“All weekend I’ve had the same problem on corner entry; the bike feels like it’s pushing from the rear and trying to stand up when you trail brake into the turn. We made some changes ahead of qualifying, which made a small improvement, but the problem was still there and I couldn’t ride around it. We still need to find something for the race, which means we’d have to evaluate any changes in warm up, but sometimes that’s just how it is. Tomorrow in the race I need do the same as in Le Mans; get a good start and then make up as many places in the opening laps as I can.”
Livio Loi #11: 30th – 2'00.865
“It was impossible to find a good rhythm in qualifying because the bike just wouldn’t do what I was asking of it; it was like it had a mind of its own! Now we need to put the work in to improve things for tomorrow. We know we’re not going to stumble on the perfect set-up for the bike, but we need to find at least a neutral setting so that I am in control of the bike, rather than the other way around. If we can do this, then all is not lost and a points scoring finish remains a possibility. If we don’t manage it then those 20-laps tomorrow are going to feel more like 50!”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“It’s been a tough weekend so far for Mika and Livio, with both of them struggling to find a solution to the problems they’re experiencing on track. It’s been doubly hard for Livio because, while Mika has a lot of experience and has been in this situation before, for Livio it’s all new. We have some ideas to help them both, which we’ll test during warm up tomorrow and I know they’ll give everything in the race, like always. Scott impressed me once again today, coming back from such a big crash and the loss of a whole practice session to take his second pole of the season. I’m sure some of his rivals were left scratching their heads after that performance, as well they might. Tomorrow’s race promises to be yet another tough one, but we go into it with some confidence. I’d also like to say a big thank you to all our mechanics, who did a superb job to build a new bike from scratch after Scott launched his into low earth orbit this morning!”