Strong start for Redding and Kallio at Assen

Strong start for Redding and Kallio at Assen

Rain disrupted this afternoon’s second Moto2 free practice at Assen, leaving Scott Redding second on combined times with his lap time from this morning’s cold but dry 45-minute session. A quick lap for Mika Kallio in the opening session for the Dutch TT saw the Finn end the day sixth on the timesheet, less than a second from provisional pole.

With the threat of rain ever present at Assen, Redding wasted no time in posting a quick lap during this morning’s opening free practice. By the halfway point it was obvious that provisional pole position was going to be claimed by either Redding or his closest championship rival, Pol Espargaro. In the end it was the Spaniard who took the top spot on the timesheet, but only by one-tenth of a second from the 20-year-old Briton. This afternoon Redding was seventh quickest in the wet, after missing out on a final flying lap as the track was drying.

Set up issues during practice and qualifying have hampered Kallio in recent races but, here at Assen, the 30-year-old Finn immediately found a good feeling with his Kalex Moto2 machine. In the wet this afternoon Kallio posted the second quickest time, after improving rear tyre feedback during the session, but it was his time from this morning that saw him end the opening day sixth fastest, and confident of further improvements tomorrow ahead of qualifying.

Livio Loi ended this morning’s opening free practice at the Dutch TT down in 25th place, but improved to 18th this afternoon after regaining confidence in his Kalex-KTM Moto3 machine following set-up changes ahead of the second 40-minute practice session. The onset of rain midway through the session stopped the 16-year-old Belgian improving further, but he remains confident of further progress tomorrow ahead of qualifying, where his goal is a top ten position on the grid for Saturday’s 22-lap Moto3 race.

Scott Redding #45: 2nd – 1’39.102
“This morning was pretty good, other than a small mistake with the gear ratio that didn’t really faze us that much. In the wet this afternoon it was also okay. When it was fully wet I was up there with the fast guys and the feeling with the bike was good, but then I dropped back a bit as it started to dry. We have some things to work on tomorrow if it remains wet, like traction out of the turn when hard on the throttle. If it remains dry then we’ll just continue with what we’re doing.  Overall I’m happy with today, despite my session being cut short by a lap this afternoon when conditions were at their best.”

Mika Kallio #36: 6th – 1’39.721
“Our plan was to try and be up there towards the top of the timesheet on the opening day and I’m glad the plan worked. It was good to get some laps in both wet and dry conditions today, as it could be that the weather is the same again for practice and qualifying and the race on Saturday. This we were able to confirm the settings with the new swinging arm, which we haven’t had a chance to run in the wet before today. Initially I didn’t have such a good feel for rear traction, but we made a few small changes and there was a definite improvement, but this could also have been down to the changing conditions. If it’s dry tomorrow then we have a few things we want to try, but if it’s wet then I think we already have a good set-up.”

Livio Loi #11: 18th – 1’45.581
“This morning the feeling with the bike was really not good, as you can see from the lap times. We changed a few things, but the biggest improvement came from my confidence, which returned this afternoon. I came back in the line a little bit in the second session and it was a good practice, except for the rain that finally arrived just before the end. The important thing is that I had the feeling back and it was going better with every lap. I think my target of qualifying and finishing the race inside the top ten is still achievable, but we will see.”