Redding on the pace at sweltering Catalunya
Scott Redding was third fastest, and Mika Kallio eighth, as the two Marc VDS riders made a flying start to the Grand Prix of Catalunya today.
Redding set the third fastest time in this morning's first 45-minute free practice, but improved his lap time by a further 0.3s during this afternoon's second session, which was held in sweltering conditions.
The 19-year-old Briton continued with the less aggressive riding style used for the first time in Le Mans, and was one of only two riders within one second of Tom Lüthi's fastest lap.
Kallio also looked comfortable during this morning's free practice, topping the timesheet early on before ending the session fourth fastest.
The 29-year-old Finn made some gearing changes to his Kalex Moto2 machine ahead of this afternoon's second session, but the changes didn't give the improvements expected and Kallio was unable to improve his lap time.
Both Marc VDS riders are confident of further improvements during the third and final free practice session, ahead of tomorrow afternoon's all-important qualifying session.
Scott Redding #45: 3rd – 1'47.171
“Both sessions were good today. The bike still instils confidence. I feel comfortable and relaxed even on the fast laps in the hot conditions this afternoon, so we're still continuing in the same way as we did at the Navarra test and at Le Mans two weeks ago. We're also making progress with the bike and I know I still have more in my pocket if I need it. If we can carry on in this direction tomorrow then we should be able to qualify well up the grid for Sunday's race.”
Mika Kallio #36: 8th – 1'47.719
“The bike felt good this morning and the lap times came quite easily, but we felt we could improve the bike further by making some changes for this afternoon's free practice session. Unfortunately, the changes we made to the bike didn't quite work as expected and the bike was almost impossible to ride. It was vibrating and chattering everywhere and it just wasn't possible to improve my time from this morning. At least we know what doesn't work now, so for tomorrow we'll go back to a slightly modified version of this morning's set-up. Better to find out today than tomorrow, I guess!”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Both Scott and Mika were on the pace this morning but, while Scott decided to stick with what he had in terms of set-up, Mika decided to make some quite radical changes to the bike for this afternoon's session. Scott was able to close on Lüthi and Espargaro at the top of the timesheet in the second free practice session, and was the only one of the top three to improve on his time from this morning. He did a good job and is looking strong ahead of qualifying tomorrow. Unfortunately Mika went the wrong way with the changes and his bike was chattering so much he was unable to push for a lap time during the session. I hope tomorrow, when he reverts to the previous set-up, he will be able to get a little closer to the frontrunners.”