Strong start to Phillip Island weekend for Redding and Kallio
Scott Redding was second quickest on combined times at Phillip Island today, after both 45-minute free practice sessions were disrupted by rain. Mika Kallio finished two places further back in fourth position, but just a tenth of second off his Marc VDS teammate's lap time.
Both Marc VDS riders were quick to make their mark in this morning's 45-minute opening free practice, as dark clouds over the Bass Strait promised rain at some point during the session. The notoriously changeable weather did play a part in the session, with rain arriving at the 30-minute mark, but it was sporadic and stopped almost as quickly as it had started.
The timing was similar this afternoon, with the rain arriving with just 15-minutes of the second free practice session left to run, but this time it was prolonged and heavy enough to leave the track fully wet. Both Marc VDS riders took to the circuit on full wet tyres, but the blustery wind that seems ever present at Phillip Island mean the track was almost fully dry again three laps after the rain had stopped.
Despite the disruptions, Redding and Kallio were happy to finish inside the top five today and both are confident of further improvements ahead of qualifying tomorrow afternoon.
Scott Redding #45: 2nd – 1'35.359
“It was pretty good out there this morning, but chatter and the bumps are still a bit of an issue. The bumps seem to be worse than ever this year and they're unsettling the bike quite a lot, but I was still able to put in a few quick laps. This afternoon wasn't too bad either, but as soon as I put the new tyres in it started raining. It's a bit frustrating when that happens, because you just want to get out there and confirm your settings. I did a couple of laps on wets at the end, but it was a pretty pointless exercise as the track dried so quickly it was steaming in places.”
Mika Kallio #36: 4th – 1'35.484
“The first practice was good. We ran with the same set-up as warm up in Malaysia and the bike felt good and well balanced. We also tested two different rear tyres and I think we have a good idea which one we'll use in the race if conditions allow. In the afternoon we tried a different setting on the front fork, but it was apparent straight away that it didn't give the improvement we were looking for. We then tested the other front tyre and that didn't really work either. Unfortunately, after we’d combined the best settings on the bike it started raining. I did a couple of laps on wets, but the track dried so quickly that it wasn't really that useful. We know from this morning we have a pretty good dry set-up, so we'll focus on refining that further tomorrow.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Both riders were quick from the start today, confirming the effectiveness of the dry set ups that they didn't get the chance to use in Malaysia. The track appears to be bumpier than in previous years, but it's the same for everyone and just something we have to get used to. Scott had some chatter issues this morning, which we made some changes to counter, but we didn't really get the chance to test them on new tyres because of the rain in the second session. Mika went a bit the wrong way with set-up for this afternoon and, again, the rain didn't give him a chance to switch back to the set-up that worked so well this morning. I'm confident that, if dry tomorrow, Scott and Mika will continue to improve and both will be looking at a position on the front two rows of the grid in qualifying.”