Redding finishes final free practice fourth in Qatar
The Marc VDS Racing Team's Scott Redding improved both his lap time and his position in tonight's final free practice session ahead of the Grand Prix of Qatar, finishing 4th fastest and less than a second off Tom Lüthi's fastest lap. Mika Kallio was 19th fastest, after losing most of the session to a mechanical issue.
Redding and his crew made a number of changes to the set-up of his Kalex Moto2 machine today, to reduce the front end chatter that the 19-year-old British rider experienced during the two free practice sessions yesterday. The changes allowed Redding to push his way into fourth on the timesheet, but the Marc VDS rider is confident of further improvement ahead of tomorrow's all-important qualifying session.
Mika Kallio looked all set to continue the form that saw him set the sixth fastest time yesterday, but a change of set-up on his Kalex Moto2 machine didn't deliver the improvements expected. The Finn lost time as the change was reversed, returning to track only at the end of the session and running straight into traffic on his remaining laps.
Redding and Kallio both go into tomorrow night's qualifying session confident they can secure a starting position on the front two rows of the grid for Sunday's season opening race.
Scott Redding #45: 4th – 2'01.230
“The main focus today was to try and get rid of the front-end chatter we had yesterday. We made some changes to the bike during the session and it was better, but I think there's definitely more improvements to be found when we go through the data tonight. Even with the chatter I was able to push on and set the fourth quickest time tonight, but I guess everyone is going to be pushing harder tomorrow. If we can make even a small improvement to the bike for qualifying then I'm pretty sure that I can put the bike on the front two rows of the grid.”
Mika Kallio #36: 19th – 2'02.227
“We decided to shorten the gearing for tonight, to give us better drive out of some of the turns, but we had to lengthen the wheelbase to do this. While the shorter gearing was good, the longer bike lacked any feeling from the front and we had no option but to switch back. Unfortunately, this took some time and I only got back out right at the end and immediately hit problems with traffic. So, we lost almost a whole session, but at the moment I'm not too concerned. If I can find a good rhythm in qualifying tomorrow, and steer clear of the traffic, then I'm confident we can still qualify towards the front of the grid for Sunday's race.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Scott did the best with what he had tonight, overcoming the chatter problems to finish fourth fastest overall. We made some improvements to the bike yesterday, but we need to reduce the chatter further if Scott is to realise his full potential in qualifying tomorrow. Mika was unlucky today. The gearing change didn't work exactly as expected and then the mechanics hit a problem changing it back during the session. It meant that Mika missed most of the practice and only returned to the track when the traffic was at its heaviest. We have some work to do tonight, but I'm confident that both riders can qualify top six tomorrow.”