Solid start to Assen weekend for Marc VDS
The Marc VDS Racing Team made a solid start to the Dutch TT weekend, with Scott Redding ninth fastest on the opening day and Mika Kallio just three places further back in 12th. Both riders were within one second of the fastest time, which was set this afternoon by Pol Espargaro.
Redding was happy with the progress made during today's practice sessions, but was disappointed not to get the chance to better his lap time further this afternoon, after a collision with Toni Elias brought his second free practice session to a premature end.
The Marc VDS rider took a blow to his knee in the resulting crash, but is confident that, although sore, the injury will not hamper him on the bike during tomorrow's final practice and the all-important qualifying, where his aim remains a position on the front two rows of the grid.
Kallio was also satisfied with the progress made during the opening day at Assen, although he was slightly disappointed not to finish higher up the timesheet. The 29-year-old Finn used today's two free practice sessions to test geometry and gearing options on his Kalex Moto2 machine, as well as evaluating the two different tyre combinations.
The Marc VDS rider will make a decision tonight on set-up for tomorrow's qualifying session, but with track conditions changing with every track session, will leave race tyre selection until after qualifying tomorrow. Like his teammate, Kallio has his sights set firmly on the front two rows of the grid for Saturday's 24-lap race.
Scott Redding #45: 9th – 1'39.232
“This morning the bike felt good and we were able to build up the pace slowly throughout the free practice session, tweaking the set-up slightly as the lap times came down. This afternoon our aim was the same, to work a little on improving our time through the third sector before banging in a couple of fast laps at the end. It didn't work out that way though, because I got caught out by Toni Elias cruising for a tow. He let Andrea Iannone go past and then pulled right in front of me when I was on a fast lap. I tucked the front a few times trying to get the bike stopped, but there was no way I could avoid him and down we both went. Cruising for a tow is dangerous and it's happening more often in both practice and qualifying. I took a big bang to my right knee, which has swollen up pretty good, but I don't think it's going to affect me too much on the bike tomorrow. I hope not, anyway.”
Mika Kallio #36: 12th – 1'39.373
“Progress has been steady today, as we worked our way through a number of set-up options on the bike. The good news is that we had none of the problems we encountered at Silverstone, so we've been able to focus completely on evaluating changes to both the geometry and gearing with no distractions. I'm a little disappointed not to be at least inside the top ten on the timesheet, but the gap to the top is very small and I feel like I have something in my pocket still for tomorrow. We know what set-up we will go with tomorrow, although we're still 50/50 on tyre choice, as the track conditions will change between now and the race. I need to be on the front two rows of the grid for the race, so that's what we'll be aiming for in qualifying.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Both Scott and Mika made a solid start today, working their way through set-up options and building the pace throughout the first free practice session. They continued in the same way this afternoon, with Mika making further improvements. Scott should have finished today top five on the timesheet, but wasn't able to set a fast time at the end of the session after colliding with Toni Elias, who pulled in front of Scott while trying to catch a tow from Andrea Iannone. Something definitely needs to be done about riders cruising around looking for a tow, as it's dangerous. Scott thinks he will be okay for tomorrow, but we'll see during the final free practice session.”