Redding storms to maiden pole position in Texas
Marc VDS Racing Team rider Scott Redding celebrated a major career milestone at the new Circuit of the Americas (COTA) this afternoon when the British rider stormed to a sensational maiden pole position.
A stunning last lap attack saw the 20-year-old post a flawless lap of 2.10.577 that saw him blitz the 32-strong Moto2 field by 0.689s. Only three riders could get within a second of Redding’s scintillating pace as he took full advantage of improved conditions at COTA today, with warmer air and track temperatures offering significantly more grip than yesterday’s slick surface.
The spectacular COTA track might be one of the longest on the Moto2 World Championship schedule at 3.427 miles but heavy traffic throughout qualifying threatened to thwart Redding’s charge to the top of the timesheets.
Frustrated at not being able to get a clean lap in, Redding superbly kept his composure to deliver the only sub-2.11 lap seen all weekend ahead of tomorrow’s 21-lap race.
Mika Kallio has his sights set on a top five finish in the first ever running of the Grand Prix of the Americas. The Finn called upon all his experience to secure a place in ninth on the grid with a superb last lap attack of 2.11.925.
Redding and Kallio are expecting a tough 21-lap race tomorrow, with both finding it difficult to find a setting that gives them good front and rear tyre endurance over the race distance.
Scott Redding #45: 1st – 2’10.577
“It feels amazing to get my first pole position. I’m really happy because to be honest it didn’t feel like a fast lap. I’d been held up so many times earlier in the session that it was getting frustrating but I managed to control my anger and channel it into a positive. Normally I’d start over riding the bike but I managed to deliver when it really mattered and that was the first time I’d been given the chance to put a lap time together. I’ve been struggling with tyre life from the front and rear, so I wasn’t sure if I still had the grip for that last lap. I never gave up although I don’t know where the time came from. When it came up 2.10.5 on my timer I thought it had broken! Then I saw I was first and I am really happy for the Marc VDS Racing Team. It was important to be on the front row because there could be some chaos at that tight first corner but I need to take advantage of Espargaro being in seventh. I will try and breakaway if I can and then try and control the tyre, but it is a great chance to claw back some of the points Espargaro gained on me in Qatar.”
Mika Kallio #36: 9th – 2’11.925
“I am not so happy to be honest but at least on the last lap I could find a good lap that put me on the third row and that is not so bad. I was pushing over the limit and we have to try a different setting in the warm-up because I’ve had a lot of problems with the front tyre. It is destroyed on the right side after five laps and it is the same regardless of whether I use the hard or soft option. On my fast lap it felt like the front was pushing away all the time but it seems like many riders have found this an issue. I am over one second away from Scott and it feels like I am right on the limit, so we have to try something different before the race to try and get more endurance out of the tyres. The key for the race though will be who can save the tyres the best for the final laps.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Today was absolutely fantastic for Scott and everybody connected with the Marc VDS Racing Team. The lap Scott pulled out right at the end of qualifying was something really special and to be almost 0.7s ahead of the field is unbelievable. It is rare to see such a huge gap in Moto2 but Scott’s performance gives us huge confidence for tomorrow’s race and we will go to bed tonight dreaming of our first win. I am happy for Scott and his crew because they have worked very hard in the winter and he has started the season incredibly strong. I have to say Mika did a great job too because he also produced a very impressive lap right at the end to get into the top 10 and he can certainly be battling for another top six tomorrow.”