Redding third in tough Brickyard battle
A sixth podium in nine races extended Marc VDS Racing rider Scott Redding’s lead in the Moto2 World Championship to 26-points after a tough Brickyard battle at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this afternoon.
In a 25-lap race where excessive rear tyre wear once again hampered Redding’s victory challenge, the 20-year-old managed to crucially overhaul main title rival Pol Espargaro for the final podium position after a fascinating battle between the two main Moto2 protagonists.
Having finished behind Espargaro in the previous three races, Redding was determined not to beaten again, despite grip issues costing him valuable time exiting the final corner and entering the fast approach to the first turn.
Demonstrating controlled aggression to preserve his tyres for the crucial final phase of the race in gruelling heat that hit almost 30 degrees, Redding’s ruthless and brave move on Espargaro to secure third at the start of lap 23 typified his desire and commitment to capture the Moto2 title.
Tyre preservation was a key strength of Mika Kallio, the Finnish rider brilliantly maintaining his pace on worn rubber in the final laps. He ended lap 15 down in 13th position but a stunning late charge saw him climb up from 10th to seventh in the last two laps to keep himself firmly in the hunt for third position in the Championship.
Livio Loi’s excellent debut at the famous Brickyard track ended in fine style, the Belgian rider securing a career best 14th place finish in the 23-lap Moto3 race.
Loi took full advantage of a career best qualifying performance yesterday and after starting 11th he was locked a big battle for the top 10 in the early laps.
A mistake while downshifting at Turn 10 on lap six cost him three seconds and dropped him out of the top 15. But he was able to launch a terrific recovery and by lap 16 he’d moved back inside the points-scoring places.
His consistently fast lap times in the 1.49 bracket impressively matched the pace of several of his rivals in the top 10, and at the chequered flag Loi collected two World Championship points, which moves him within touching distance of the top 20 in the overall rankings.
The Marc VDS Racing Team now heads back to Europe for next weekend’s Brno race in the Czech Republic, which is immediately followed by Redding’s vital home round at Silverstone on 1 September.
Scott Redding #45: 3rd
“I felt good at the start but I didn't want to lead because I knew I needed to save the tyres. I could see Nakagami was using a lot of his rear tyre but after about seven laps I suddenly starting having a vibration from the rear and I was losing time in the first and last corner. After that it was all about surviving to the finish and not trying to stress the tyres too much. But when Rabat came by he was gone in a few corners, so it was obvious I had some more tyre issues and that’s a bit disappointing. The battle at the end with Pol was exciting. It was pretty tight in those first couple of corners on lap 23 but I never touched him and sometimes you have to be aggressive like that. I’m just happy to have beaten him because it is vitally important for the Championship.”
Mika Kallio #36: 7th
“I am happy to have recovered so many places in the final laps but it was a very tough race. I knew that I could keep a good pace right until the end but unfortunately I am not as fast as the rest on new tyres. I just had to hang in there as best I could because I knew I’d be faster when the rest started to have grip problems. I just kept pushing even though I started to lose front and rear grip and I am reasonably satisfied to have fought back to seventh. It is not a fantastic position but not too bad considering I started 15th. I lost some points on Rabat and Aegerter in the Championship but there are many races to go and I am sure I will be more competitive in Brno.”
Livio Loi #11: 14th
“It has been a very positive first visit to Indianapolis for me and I really happy to have followed up my best ever qualifying result yesterday with my career best finish in the race. I am sure I could have been higher than 14th but on lap six I made a mistake downshifting. I went from third into first gear at Turn 10 and the rear came round on me. It was a big moment and it cost me a lot of time and positions. I just kept pushing as hard as I could to get back into the points and I am pleased I managed to do that and I am very happy with the consistency of my lap times. It is a good way to start the second half of the season but part of me obviously thinks it a top 10 was possible without the mistake, but that can happen when you are pushing at this level.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“That was an incredible race and I am really happy that Scott has increased his lead in the Championship. It was very important to finish in front of Espargaro for the first time in four races and I think he showed just how much he wants to win this title with some really hard moves. Unfortunately, once again, he was handicapped by the tyres and this is not the first time, so I am hoping to see some improvements coming quickly. It is a shame Scott just couldn’t quite get by Nakagami at the end because those extra points could be crucial. But to lead by 26 points means we are more than one race clear again and this is very positive. Mika did an amazing job in the last 10 laps. He was one of the fastest on track at the end and to pass so many riders late on was very important for his position in the Championship. Livio did a very good job on his first visit here and to get his best ever qualifying and race result gives him and his team a good platform to build on for the second half of the season. It is a shame about the downshifting mistake because I think he showed he had the speed to fight for the top 10. He still showed his potential this weekend and I am sure it is only a matter of time before he is getting a first top 10 result under his belt.”