Redding retains championship lead with fourth in Barcelona
Scott Redding claimed his best ever result in the Grand Prix de Catalunya today, with an intelligent race to fourth place. Mika Kallio also finished inside the top ten, after battling his way through the field to finish the 23-lap Moto2 race in ninth.
Starting from the front row of the grid, Redding’s race was almost brought to a premature conclusion on the opening lap when Johann Zarco slammed into the side of the Marc VDS rider at turn one. Redding managed to recover, but lost places and was forced into the 1’46s bracket to close the gap on the leaders. Redding looked set to challenge for the race lead, but eventually had to settle for fourth place, and the 13 points that go with it, as his tyres started to drop off.
Redding’s fourth place today means that the 20-year-old Briton retains his lead in the FIM Moto2 World Championship standings, albeit with a reduced margin of 35 points over today’s race winner, Pol Espargaro. With a haul of 38 points from Mugello and Catalunya, the two tracks on the calendar where his size and weight are the biggest disadvantage, Redding is looking forward to the next few races on some of his favourite, and strongest, tracks.
Kallio went into today’s race with the same game plan as in Mugello, but lost out on the opening lap after a coming together with Dominique Aegerter on the run down to turn one. The 30-year-old Finn lost out again later in the same lap, when Julian Simon closed the door on him, but he eventually fought his way through and into a race long battle with Aegerter for eighth place. After swapping the lead a number of times on the final lap, it was the Swiss rider who made it across the line first, forcing Kallio to settle for ninth place.
For Livio Loi today’s Moto3 race ended after just five laps when the 16-year-old Belgian lost the front at turn five and crashed out of the race. Loi underwent a precautionary examination in the circuit medical centre, but was then transferred to the local hospital for further checks to assess whether he suffered a concussion in the crash. Despite the crash, and the disappointment of missing out on a possible top ten finish, Loi’s characteristic smile was still very much in evidence.
Scott Redding #45: 4th
“I got a good jump off the line, but then Zarco just gassed it into the side of my bike at turn one. I thought he’d gone down, because it felt like I rode over his bike. I was lucky to hang on to that one. That dropped me back and I got into a bit of a fight with De Angelis, but then the rhythm started coming better and I was able to close on the leaders. The rear started spinning up a lot about five laps in and, about halfway through the race, I lost touch with the three at the front. After struggling quite a bit this weekend, I’m happy enough to get my best result at a track that’s not been so good for me in the past and to retain my lead in the championship. Now we go to Assen, which is a track I like a lot.”
Mika Kallio #36: 9th
“Another tough race, just like Mugello. I kept my position off the line, but got hit by Aegerter on the run down to turn one and then by Simon later in the same lap. I lost a lot of places but I kept my pace, found a good rhythm and just looked for opportunities to pass the guys in front of me. It was difficult, because I didn’t have the rear grip to open early out of the turns, so they were pulling away from me on every exit, especially in the faster turns. It meant I had to be really aggressive on the brakes everywhere, which makes for a physically hard race. In the end I was battling with Aegerter for eighth, but after swapping places a few times on the last lap he managed to get past at the end of the back straight and that was that. We picked up some points after a difficult weekend, which was the main aim today.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Once again Scott has shown his maturity today, recovering from a bit of drama at on the opening lap to eventually join the battle for the race lead. In the end he just didn’t have the tyres to mount a challenge and, rather than push over the limit and risk a crash, he took a safe fourth place and another 13 points. It’s his best ever result at Catalunya and it means he still enjoys a healthy lead in the championship. Mika again showed that, come race day, he’s prepared to fight on track. A top ten finish today is quite an achievement given the issues he’s had during practice and qualifying. Livio also looked set for a top ten finish today, but lost the front while battling for position and crashed out of the race. He took a bit of a bang to the head in the crash so, purely as a precaution, we will take him to the local hospital to check for concussion. As usual he keeps smiling, even with a bit of a headache!”