Redding off to a flyer at Sepang
Scott Redding got his Sepang weekend off to a flying start, ending the opening day third fastest on combined times. Mika Kallio was ninth on the timesheet, after struggling to improve his time on the softer of the two rear tyres supplied by Dunlop this weekend.
Redding spent the opening free practice session on the harder option rear tyre, but struggled throughout with a lack of rear grip, on a track that is renowned for grip issues due to the frequent and heavy rain. The 20-year-old Briton switched to the softer option rear tyre for this afternoon’s second 45-minute free practice, immediately improving his lap time by almost one second.
While the switch to the softer option rear tyre worked for Redding, it was a different story for his Marc VDS teammate, Mika Kallio. The 30-year-old Finn was fifth in this morning’s free practice on the harder rear tyre, but a switch to the softer option failed to provide the improvement in lap times he was expecting, as the additional grip made the bike more nervous over the worsening Sepang bumps.
Sepang is a new circuit for the Marc VDS Racing Team’s Moto3 rider, Livio Loi, so this morning’s first 40-minute free practice session, which he finished in 26th position, he spent learning his way around the 5.548km track. The 16-year-old Belgian was looking for improvements this afternoon, but a brief rain shower at midday left the track damp for the second 40-minute free practice, which Loi finished 17th.
Scott Redding #45 // 3rd // 2’08.056 // @Reddingpower
“This morning the rear was just spinning, spinning and spinning everywhere, so we knew we needed to find some more rear grip this afternoon. As soon as we changed the rear tyre for the softer option the feeling was there, the grip was there and the lap times started to come, with my first lap half a second faster than this morning and my second almost a second quicker. Maybe we should have switched earlier, but we were still trying to check which of the tyres worked best. We were quite a long way off this morning, but we’re back more or less there, except for Rabat, so I’m pretty happy.”
Mika Kallio #36 // 9th // 2’08.718
“The grip was lacking a little this morning, but I was quite quick on the harder rear tyre. The same was true early in the second session, which I started on the used tyre from this morning, but the problem came when I switched to the softer rear tyre option. We expected the increased grip from the softer tyre would be a positive, but it actually made the bike feel more nervous and induced a small amount of chatter. I couldn’t push past this feeling during the session, which meant I wasn’t able to significantly improve my time from this morning. Now we need to analyse how to get the best from the softer rear, as this will be the tyre for qualifying and maybe even the race.”
Livio Loi #11 // 26th // 2’17.704 // @LivioLoi
“This morning was all about learning my way around the track, because Sepang is completely new to me. Even so, the feeling with the bike wasn’t what I was expecting, which meant I felt like I was on the limit and it was difficult to improve on my lap time towards the end of the session. We made some changes to the set-up of the bike ahead of FP2 and there was a big improvement. The rain at lunchtime meant the track was damp throughout the second session, but the feeling was already much better than this morning. Hopefully we’ll get a dry session tomorrow morning, so we can confirm the settings and push for a faster lap time ahead of qualifying.”