Solid start to Italian Grand Prix weekend for Marc VDS
The Marc VDS Racing Team made a solid start on the opening day of practice ahead of Sunday's Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, with Scott Redding seventh fastest and Mika Kallio just 0.03s off his teammate's time in ninth.
Redding struggled with stability issues during this morning's opening free practice session at the ultra-fast and technical Mugello circuit, but changes to the set-up of his Kalex Moto2 machine brought significant improvements in the afternoon practice. The 19-year-old Briton spent the 45-minute session inside the top ten, snatching seventh position on the timesheet with his final flying lap.
Kallio also made significant set-up changes ahead of this afternoon's session, altering both the balance and the geometry of the bike to improve both turning and agility through the many fast changes of direction that are a feature of the Mugello circuit. The 29-year-old Finn looked all set to finish today seventh fastest, but lost two places to Redding and Alex de Angelis, who used his slipstream to improve on his fastest time.
Both Marc VDS riders will continue to refine the set-up of their Kalex Moto2 machines during tomorrow's final free practice session, before turning their attentions to securing positions on the front two rows of the grid in qualifying.
Scott Redding #45: 7th – 1'53.342
“Overall it's been a pretty good first day for us here at Mugello. I struggled a bit with the bike set-up this morning, but we made some changes for this afternoon that made the bike a lot more stable and my times came down as a result. Tomorrow in the final free practice session we will be looking for a better gearing option, as we're still losing a little under acceleration out of the turns. We'll try a couple of things we think will give us a good balance here at Mugello, which is fast but also quite technical. The aim, as always, is to have everything sorted ahead of qualifying tomorrow afternoon.”
Mika Kallio #36: 9th – 1'53.372
“I'm quite happy with the progress we've made today. Espargaro and Smith managed to pull a slight gap at the top of the timesheet, but then the times are very tight between the remainder of the top ten. We made some quite big changes to the bike for this afternoon's session, altering both the balance and the wheelbase quite significantly. Normally it takes me a while to adapt when we make such big changes, but this afternoon the bike felt good and I was quickly back up to speed. Tomorrow I need to focus on closing the gap to the two riders at the top of the timesheet and securing a good grid position for Sunday's race.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“We've had a solid start to the weekend, with both Scott and Mika inside the top ten and running very similar lap times during today's free practice sessions. Both riders made quite significant changes to the set-up of their Kalex Moto2 machines for this afternoon's session, which was something of a gamble, but one that paid off. Tomorrow Scott and Mika need to close the gap to the top two riders ahead of qualifying, where they'll be aiming for a position on the front two rows of the grid.”