Second row for on form Redding at Motegi
Scott Redding will start tomorrow's Japanese Moto2 Grand Prix from the head of the second row of the grid, after qualifying fourth fastest at Motegi this afternoon. Mika Kallio will start from the fifth row of the grid after a disastrous day in which he was taken out by Marc Marquez this morning and then sidelined with a broken clutch this afternoon.
In this morning's 45-minute free practice session Redding continued where he left off yesterday, improving his lap time to finish fourth fastest. The 19-year-old Briton improved further during the early part of this afternoon's all-important qualifying session, moving up to fourth on the timesheet.
Redding looked set to jump onto the front row of the grid with his final flying lap, but lost time after a near crash on the exit of the hairpin. The front tucked as he clipped the apex, forcing him onto the gas to pick the bike up, only for the rear to come round on him and almost throw him over the highside. It was a violent near-crash, with Redding damaging the fairing, the fuel tank and bending both handlebars as he was flung off and then landed back on the bike.
After finishing yesterday's free practice sessions tenth fastest, Kallio endured a disastrous second day at Motegi. During this morning's free practice session the 29-year-old Finn made a clean move on Marc Marquez, only for the Spaniard to try a suicidal move up the inside at the next turn. Going for a gap that simply didn't exist, but refusing to shut off, Marquez ran into the back of Kallio's bike and the Finn went down hard. Kallio walked away with minor abrasions but the bike, which had somersaulted into the gravel trap, was almost completely destroyed.
The Marc VDS mechanics managed to completely rebuild the bike ahead of qualifying, only for Kallio to miss a large part of the 45-minute timed session after experiencing two clutch failures. As a result the Marc VDS rider, who has won three times here at Motegi in the past, will start tomorrow's race from 15th position on the grid.
The clutch problems may well be related to the earlier crash, as it's the first time the team have had one failure, never mind two in quick succession. This will be investigated further by the team's mechanics this evening.
Scott Redding #45: 4th – 1'51.273
“The second row is good enough, but I really thought I was going to end up on the front row with my last flying lap. Unfortunately, it turned out to be more of a flying lap than I was hoping for. The front tucked on me exiting the hairpin, so I got on the gas to pick the bike up only for the rear to come round on me. It flicked me pretty high and I landed back on the bike so hard I thought I'd swallowed my own nuts! We've been on the pace all weekend so far and the lap times have been both fast and consistent, so I'm confident going into tomorrow's race. Hopefully we'll have another battle like we had in Aragon and I can be up there hunting another podium finish.”
Mika Kallio #36: 15th – 1'52.223
“The only thing I can say about today is that it's not possible for tomorrow to be any worse! Someone should have maybe told Marc Marquez that the race is tomorrow, because his move in free practice this morning was completely out of order. He ran wide into the turn and I went under him cleanly, only for him to torpedo me from behind at the next turn. He hit me so hard he bent the swinging arm; I don't think he even thought about shutting off. This afternoon we had problems with the clutch, which may well be a result of the crash, but it means I'll start tomorrow from the fifth row of the grid. It will make for a tough race but, like I said, it can't be any worse than today.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Scott has done a good job this weekend and his confidence is plain to see. He's been consistently top five on the timesheet throughout free practice and could well have been on the front row today if he'd not had a near crash on his last flying lap. He was lucky to get away with it; he landed so hard on the bike he destroyed a set of bodywork and even bent the handlebars. I'm confident he'll be up there battling for a podium finish once again in the race tomorrow. Mika has endured a disastrous day through no fault of his own. Marc Marquez's move on Mika in free practice this morning was beyond reckless and it's lucky that it's just the bike we had to replace and not the rider as well. He wasn't sanctioned for the crash because it was a 'racing incident' apparently, which makes about as much sense as Marquez's reasons for trying such a suicidal move in the first place. Anyway, Mika has put today behind him and is determined to battle his way through the field to a top ten finish and I have no doubt in his ability to do this.”