Redding takes second at Assen as Kallio narrowly misses out on the podium
Scott Redding took a hard fought second place in today’s Moto2 Dutch TT, after a thrilling, race long battle with his main championship rival, Pol Espargaro. Mika Kallio finished an impressive fourth this afternoon, but was disappointed to miss out on making it a double podium celebration for the Marc VDS Racing Team by just a tenth of a second.
Redding took maximum advantage of his front row start, slotting in behind pole sitter Espargaro before taking the race lead on lap two. A ten-rider group initially formed at the front of the field, but by half race distance Redding and Espargaro had pulled out a significant advantage over the pursuing pack, with the Spaniard leading the way. With four laps to go, Redding forced his way back into the lead and tried to pull away, but Espargaro managed to squeeze his way past the 20-year-old Briton on the final lap, to win by just one tenth of a second.
Starting from the third row of the grid, Kallio immediately tried to force his way through the pack and into the leading group, but was thwarted in his efforts by the traditional opening lap chaos of a Moto2 race. The 30-year-old Finn eventually fought his way up to sixth and onto the back of the group battling for third, moving up to fourth on the final lap. Kallio pushed hard to try and catch Dominique Aegerter for the final podium place, but had to settle for fourth after the Swiss rider beat him to the line by a wheel.
Livio Loi endured a difficult race today at Assen, losing places on the opening lap that he was unable to claw back over the 23-lap Moto3 race, due to problems on corner entry. Loi eventually finished in 23rd position. Struggling to get the bike to turn in and hold a line, especially through the faster corners, Loi was frustrated to be able to pass rivals on the straight, only to immediately relinquish the position at the next turn. The rookie was disappointed to finish outside the points, but took consolation from the experience gained as a result of another race completed.
Scott Redding #45: 2nd
“Normally I’d be disappointed with finishing second, but not today. It was a close race and it was good for me to know I could put pressure on Pol throughout, despite him having a bit of a speed advantage on the straight. I could pass him in sector one, but he’d just come back at me in sector two or sector four. In the end I went through and tried to pull a gap, because I knew it would be difficult to hold him off on the last lap if we were close. It was all going to plan, but then the bike jumped out of sixth gear and that was enough for him to close on me again. It was a close fight, and Pol made some hard moves on me, but I was smiling in my helmet for the whole race. It was great fun, so losing out on the win by just a tenth at the end wasn’t as disheartening as it would normally be.”
Mika Kallio #36: 4th
“I’m happy with fourth place, but also a little disappointed to miss out on a podium finish by such a narrow margin. It was difficult at the start because I was so much on the limit, especially on the brakes, that finding a good rhythm was almost impossible. But that’s how it is in Moto2; if you don’t ride the opening laps on the absolute limit then two or three riders will be up the inside of you at every turn. I joined the back of the group fighting for third, but it was difficult to find a way through to the front. The pace was high, so I was close to the limit for the whole race, but I managed to find a couple of extra tenths in the last lap to get past Zarco and Rabat. Unfortunately I couldn’t quite catch Aegerter for third, but I’m happy enough with the points for fourth.”
Livio Loi #11: 23rd
“It was not a good day for me here at Assen. I lost a couple of places from the start, but the first corner was a disaster. I got pushed to the outside and lost a lot of places as everyone came up my inside. I don’t know what position I eventually ended up in at the end of the opening lap, but there weren’t many riders behind me. Normally I’d be able to fight my way back towards the top 15, as I’ve done before, but I was losing ground on every lap because the bike just wouldn’t turn in. It felt like the front tyre was barely connected to the track. The only positive to take from today is that I now have another 22 laps of Grand Prix experience under my belt.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Today it was easy to see why Scott and Pol are now considered the main championship contenders in Moto2. Both rode a fantastic race and they were a level above the rest of the field. Pol took the win by the narrowest of margins this time, but I suspect we’re going to see these two battling on track together for the rest of the season and Scott will have plenty of opportunities to repay the favour. Mika also rode a great race to finish fourth, even if he is a little disappointed to miss out on joining Scott on the podium by just the width of a wheel! It will be a big boost to his confidence ahead of Sachsenring, which was his strongest track last season. I think Livio has now realised just how high a level he’s racing at this season. When you miss something with the set up of the bike, it’s 10 or 15 places you lose, not just one or two. But it’s all experience for him, which he’ll benefit from in the future.”