Redding and Kallio aiming high at season opener
The Marc VDS Racing Team's Mika Kallio and Scott Redding head to the Middle East looking for a strong start to the season, as the 2013 Moto2 World Championship gets underway this weekend at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
Redding heads into the new season as one of the favourites for this year’s championship title, after successful preseason tests at Valencia and Jerez. This will be Redding’s fourth season with the Marc VDS Racing Team, and his fourth in the Moto2 World Championship, and the 20-year-old Briton is determined to get it underway with a strong finish in the opening race.
For Kallio preseason testing has been all about working with this new chief mechanic, Naoya Kaneko, to find a good base setting for his Kalex Moto2 machine. The 30-year-old Finn struggled with chatter at some tracks last year, but heads into the new season with renewed confidence after all but eliminating the problem during the tests in Valencia and Jerez. Like his Marc VDS teammate, Kallio has his eyes set firmly on a top five finish in Qatar.
The Marc VDS Racing Team’s Moto3 rider, Livio Loi, will travel to Qatar to support his teammates but will not race this weekend. The 15-year-old Belgian will make his Grand Prix race debut at the third round of the Moto3 World Championship in Jerez, just eight days after his 16th birthday.
The Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar is unique in that it is the only race on the GP calendar to be held at night. The 5.380km / 3.434 mile Losail track is illuminated by 3,600 light fixtures burning a massive 5.4 million watts of power, creating enough light to cover an area equivalent to 70 football pitches.
Scott Redding #45:
“Last year we achieved our aim of top five finishes, but this season I need to step it up and be aiming for the podium in every race, starting this weekend in Qatar. We head for the first race off the back of three very positive preseason tests, with a bike that I feel confident with and a package that we know is competitive. I’m probably better prepared, both physically and mentally, for the start of the season than I’ve ever been before, so I’m really looking forward to the weekend ahead. A podium finish in Qatar would be the perfect start to what promises to be another tough and hard fought season, so that’s what I’m aiming for.”
Mika Kallio #36:
“We’ve worked hard with the bike over the winter to eliminate the front end issues that caused me so many problems last season. It’s meant changing the settings quite significantly, which took me some time to get used to. The good news is that, at Valencia and Jerez, the chatter and vibration from the front was almost non-existent, which is a big step forward. It means I go to Qatar with much more confidence compared to this time last year. Our aim this weekend is clear; I think there are probably eight or nine riders capable of finishing on the podium in Qatar and I need to be up there battling with them for a top three finish at the first race of the season.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“It’s been a long winter but, finally, we’re heading to the first race of the new season in Qatar. For Scott there is a little bit more pressure this season, as he’s been tipped as one of the main contenders for the championship, but he hasn’t let that distract him from his build up to the first race. He knows what he has to do, not just in Qatar but also during the whole season, and I’m confident he will deliver. Mika has made some big changes to the bike over the winter and, despite preseason testing being disrupted by the weather, he goes into the first race with more confidence than we’ve seen from him previously. I think Mika may well turn out to be the dark horse of the championship this season. We’re looking for two good results to kick off the season in Qatar and I expect to see both riders running towards the front of the field this weekend.”