Redding storms to podium at rain-lashed Le Mans
The Marc VDS Racing Team's Scott Redding made a stunning return to the podium in today’s rain-lashed French Moto2 race at Le Mans, the British rider mastering treacherous conditions to finish in a richly deserved third position.
Teammate Mika Kallio also used all his experience to produce a confident and assured display on a soaking surface to secure a season best fifth position.
Redding made an aggressive start from the second row of the grid and quickly assessed grip levels to put his Kalex machine inside the top three for the opening 12 laps.
Redding’s new smooth riding style that he started using in France to help conserve his Dunlop tyres over a race distance was also a huge benefit in the wet conditions and the 19-year-old kept himself in contention for the podium, despite slipping back to fourth on lap 13.
In conditions that demanded immense skill and concentration, Redding was promoted back into third on lap 22 when hard charging French rider Johann Zarco crashed out of second place.
Redding then rode a faultless final five laps to secure his first podium since the 2010 Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island, a result made even more special coming in the home race for the Marc VDS Racing Team’s technical sponsor Elf.
Kallio was in contention for the top five throughout the 26-lap encounter and he expertly maintained a fast and consistent pace, despite encountering rear grip issues at the rain-soaked Bugatti track.
He dropped back into a group of five riders battling for fifth, but a fantastic late attack saw him leave title contender Pol Espargaro, Bradley Smith, Julian Simon and wet weather specialist Anthony West trailing in his wake.
Scott Redding #45: 3rd Position
“I am really happy because it feels like a long time since I was on the podium and this is a great result for me and the Marc VDS Team. We have been threatening to get a result like this all season and it feels great because last year was a bit of a disaster and we made a big gamble to change the chassis to Kalex. Right from the start of testing it made a big difference to my confidence. Apart from the result, the positive is that I felt confident in the rain. I had a great feeling with the bike and to be on the podium in the rain is a special feeling. It was tough at the start because each time I touched the throttle I’d lose the rear, so I just calmed down and tried to be smooth and attacked when I felt comfortable. Once I got back into third I just kept my concentration because it was easy to make a mistake and now we can move forward with a lot of confidence that I’m competitive in both wet and dry.”
Mika Kallio #36: 5th Position
“I’ve got to be satisfied with fifth and my best result of the season because it was so easy to make an error and crash. I was fast and able to stay with the leading group at the start, but once they picked up the pace I was unable to go with them without taking too many risks. I didn’t have the rear grip so when I released the front brake at the apex of the corner, I had to be very careful getting back on the throttle. That was costing me some time and each time I pushed I almost crashed. I dropped back into a group but towards the end of the race I got my head down and made some good overtakes, improving my lap time by a second by taking a few more risks. Fifth is a good result and Scott’s podium meant it was a very positive weekend for Marc VDS.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“I am delighted with Scott and Mika today because to have both of them in the top five is a fantastic result for the Marc VDS Racing Team and reflects our high potential in 2012. It was easy to make a mistake with the conditions so difficult, but both of them kept their cool and gave us a perfect ending to a very positive weekend. In the dry I was confident we could achieve this result, but I was very worried when it was raining. I woke up at 4am this morning a little worried because Scott hasn’t been that competitive in the rain recently. So for him to deliver a performance like that is a brilliant reward for him and his crew. Mika also did an outstanding job because without his determination, fifth could have been 10th. He showed real class and experience at the end to pull away from some strong riders, including Espargaro. This weekend was a big event for Elf too, so it gives us even more pleasure to get this result in France for them. I'd also like to congratulate our car team who finished fourth, and the highest placed BMW team, on their debut at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring today.”