Redding fourth and Kallio seventh in Jerez thriller
Scott Redding took a fantastic fourth place in today's rain shortened Spanish Moto2 Grand Prix at Jerez, with Marc VDS teammate Mika Kallio finishing just three places further back in seventh.
A big crash in qualifying yesterday meant Redding started today's race from the fourth row of the grid, but the 19-year-old Briton got a flyer from the line and had moved up to seventh at the end of the first lap. He continued to make rapid progress, picking off riders in front of him, before taking the race lead from Tom Lüthi on lap eight.
The battle at the front, which was fought out between Redding, Lüthi, Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro continued throughout the race until the onset of rain made conditions treacherous. A couple of big slides in the worsening conditions saw Redding slip back to fourth and he was unable to close the gap back to the leaders before more rain caused the race to be red flagged.
Kallio got a good start from the second row of the grid, but dropped back to tenth after being pushed wide at turn two on the opening lap. The Marc VDS rider fought his way back through the field, to eventually join the group of five riders battling for the lead at the front of the race. The 29-year-old Finn looked all set to mount a serious challenge for a podium finish, but got caught out by the worsening conditions and ran off the track after a near highside.
Kallio kept the bike upright and was quick to rejoin the race, but ran out of time to close down the gap to the leading group and was forced to settle for seventh place when the red flag brought a premature end to proceedings.
Livio Loi went into today's 16-lap Rookies race determined to secure a top ten finish. The 15-year-old Belgian rider rode cleverly, in a race that saw many crashes, to eventually finish a creditable eighth.
The Marc VDS Racing Team head from Jerez straight to Estoril, the venue for round three of the 2012 Moto2 World Championship, which takes place next weekend.
Scott Redding #45: 4th
“I knew I had to push from the start if I wanted to make it to the front, so I stuck the elbows out, took a few risks and bumped my way past a few people. It was a good battle at the front, with some pretty hard moves from everyone, but then it started to rain around the back part of the track and I had a couple of big moments as the rear let go. After the second near highside I decided to back off a bit to see if conditions would improve, but then the real rain arrived and the race was stopped. It would have been good to finish on the podium, but having started from so far back on the grid, I'm pretty happy with fourth place today.”
Mika Kallio #36: 7th
“I got away from the start in fifth or sixth, but then Mike di Meglio braked late at turn two and pushed us both wide. Fighting back through the field was difficult, because you had to go onto the damp part of the track to overtake, but I eventually managed to latch onto the back of the leading group. My plan was to sit in sixth for a few laps and then make a move for the podium, but then it started raining and I nearly went over the highside on the damp track. I was lucky, but I'm a bit disappointed because I think a podium finish was a possibility for me today. Now we must wait for Estoril next weekend and give it another go.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“I'm really pleased for both riders today, they did a fantastic job to finish fourth and seventh in difficult conditions. Once Scott got to the front of the race he was pushed hard by Lüthi, Marquez and Espargaro, but gave as good as he got and looked all set to challenge for a podium, or maybe even the win. Then the rain came, he had a couple of slides and sensibly decided to back off. The three riders in front of him were taking a lot of risks, so I think he made the right decision. After a bad start Mika fought his way up to the race leaders, which is no mean feat in Moto2. He looked very capable of finishing on the podium today, but got caught out as the rain started to fall. He rejoined and continued pushing, but the race was red flagged before he could regain the leading group. It was a good result for Mika and Scott and a good result for the team. Now we must look forward to Estoril next weekend.”