Second row for Redding and third row for Kallio at Indianapolis
Scott Redding will start from tomorrow's Indianapolis Grand Prix from the second row of the grid, after qualifying sixth fastest at the Brickyard this afternoon. Mika Kallio trailed his Marc VDS teammate by just a tenth of a second and will start from the eighth position and the third row.
Redding posted the second quickest time during this morning's final free practice session, and looked all set to claim a front row grid position in qualifying this afternoon. The 19-year-old Briton moved up to third position during the early part of the 45-minute timed session, but was unable to improve further on his lap time as a slipping clutch upset his rhythm.
Despite the problems in qualifying, Redding remains confident of a good result tomorrow, but also well aware that tyres will play a critical part in the race, on a track that is particularly demanding on tyres due to the abrasive, yet unpredictable, surface.
Kallio and his crew made minor changes to his Kalex Moto2 machine overnight to improve feedback from the rear tyre on a track where lack of use and the changeable surface makes grip unpredictable. As a result the 29-year-old Finn finished the final free practice session fifth fastest.
With the track temperature increasing significantly ahead of qualifying this afternoon, Kallio found himself struggling for front-end grip during the 45-minute session. The Marc VDS rider pushed on, despite a number of front-end slides, and only missed out on a second row start due to traffic right at the end of the session. Like his Marc VDS teammate, Kallio is confident of a good result tomorrow if he can get away with the leaders from the start.
Scott Redding #45: 6th – 1'43.548
“I couldn't seem to find a good rhythm today, mainly because of a problem with the clutch. It started slipping early on in qualifying we simply didn't have time to sort it out with only 35 minutes of the session left to run. So, it was just a case of doing the best that I could and hoping it was enough to put me on the front two rows, which it was, just! Tomorrow's race is going to be all about the tyres. The rear is spinning up after just four laps, so it's going to be a case of racing with the head and not the throttle tomorrow. If I can get away with the leaders, and we don't burn up our tyres battling for position at every corner early on, then I'm confident we can come away from Indy with a good result and more championship points.”
Mika Kallio #36: 8th – 1'43.637
“We made some changes to the rear of the bike overnight, to give me a better feel for the available grip and that made the bike much easier to turn in the slower corners, where you need to get on the gas early. It led to an improvement in the lap time this morning, but the track temperature had gone up this afternoon and the grip wasn't the same. The front was sliding a lot during qualifying and, while you could still push on, it was almost impossible to feel where the limit was. Obviously, looking at the lap times of the frontrunners, the limit was a bit further than I thought. The important thing tomorrow is to get away with the leaders and ride smoothly. If I miss the start and have to attack early then the tyres will be shot by mid-race distance.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“We were aiming for the front three rows of the grid, which we achieved today in qualifying, but I think it was maybe possible to have been even higher up the grid if both riders hadn't had some problems during the session. We know from past experience that this track is very hard on tyres, especially the left shoulder on the rear, so a good start will be critical for both Scott and Mika. They need to get away with the leading group and then conserve their tyres in the early stages of the race. If they miss the start and have to chase then we know the rear tyre won't last the full race distance. It's a balancing act, but if they get it right then there's no reason why both shouldn't be battling for a podium position towards the end of the race tomorrow.”