Redding and Kallio off to flying start in France

Redding and Kallio off to flying start in France

Scott Redding topped the timesheets and Mika Kallio was an impressive fourth fastest as the Marc VDS Racing Team enjoyed a flying start to the French Moto2 round at the Le Mans circuit today.

Fourth quickest in this morning’s opening practice, Redding delivered an outstanding performance in the second session to head the combined leaderboard with a best lap of 1.37.869.

The 19-year-old was almost a second faster in cool and cloudy conditions this afternoon, the British rider taking full advantage of updates to his Kalex frame and Öhlins suspension to finish 0.078s clear of Thomas Lüthi.

Today’s impressive result was an instant reward for Redding, who continued to work on a smoother riding technique that he began experimenting with during a productive test at the Navarro track in Spain earlier this week.

Redding has worked closely with his Marc VDS Racing crew to calm some of his trademark aggression in a bid to conserve his Dunlop tyres over a race distance. The modifications to his riding style reaped immediate rewards with only two other riders able to lap within 0.5s of Redding’s pace today.

Kallio also enjoyed a positive start to the fourth round of the 2012 Moto2 World Championship, the Finnish rider benefitting from a new ride height setting that increased his feedback from the Dunlop tyres.

His best time of 1.38.394 was only 0.030s away from the top three and Kallio is confident he can significantly improve his pace tomorrow, having set his fastest time on a front tyre that he’d already completed 37 laps on.

Scott Redding #45: 1st Position – 1'37.869
“Today was a really good start to the weekend and I’m really happy because I’ve spent the whole day perfecting a new technique to help me preserve the life of the tyres over a race distance. We know my weight is a disadvantage so I’m just working on staying relaxed and being smooth rather than be as aggressive as I usually am. I’ve been looking at some data with Mika because he has a lot of experience and he is so relaxed on the throttle but still fast, so I’ve been trying that style and it seems to be working for me and paying off. The Navarro test was a big help too because some of the updates on the bike have definitely improved it and given me even more confidence. I set my best lap time quite early and nobody could better it, so I’m going into qualifying tomorrow confident I can challenge for a front row. We have to see what happens with the weather but I’m looking forward to carrying on today’s form.”

Mika Kallio #36: 4th Position – 1'38.394
“Fifth this morning and fourth this afternoon was the kind of start we wanted to make this weekend after the positive test in Navarro. We started with the same settings from the test and the bike worked well on this track too. We’ve lowered the bike and while I’ve lost some turning performance and agility in changing direction, the modification has given me the feedback from the tyres I’ve been looking for and that gives me more confidence to push in the corners. The gap to Scott is quite big but my best lap time was set with 37 laps on the front tyre and I think I can improve by a few tenths with a new front. The rear tyre is not the tyre that we expect will be good for qualifying also, so I’m confident I can be faster and pushing for a place on the front row.”

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Today was just about the perfect start for us and I am really pleased because both Scott and Mika have been inside the top five in both sessions. It proved that our test in Navarro was worthwhile because it gave us the chance to test some modifications to the frame and suspension that we have not been able to try in the first three races. Clearly the changes have been an immediate benefit for Scott, and he was looking really confident and strong all day. Mika was also competing for the top three throughout and I’m sure he could have been closer to Scott. His best lap was set on an old front tyre and a rear tyre we don’t plan to use to qualify, so I’m sure he has some margin to improve. Now we have to see what happens with the weather because the rain can play a big part again, but in the dry we are looking very strong and competitive.”