Top three for Redding on opening day at Valencia
Scott Redding got off to a flying start today, posting the third fastest time in the two free practice sessions, despite rain making conditions tricky on the recently resurfaced Valencia track. Mika Kallio was tenth quickest today, after finding a workable set-up only at the end of this afternoon's second free practice session.
Redding was a little disappointed to end this morning's fully wet practice in 12th position, but also happy that his feeling with the bike in the wet conditions has improved significantly compared to the race in Malaysia just three weeks ago.
The track remained damp for the start of this afternoon's second free practice session, but as soon as a dry line started to appear, Redding jumped to the top of the timesheet and was only demoted to third place by fast laps from Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro right at the end of the session when track conditions were at their best.
For Kallio this morning's fully wet session was a difficult one, with the 30-year-old Finn struggling to find a good set up for the conditions on his Kalex Moto2 machine. Kallio was hoping to fine-tune his wet settings during this afternoon's second session, but the appearance of a dry line put paid to that and he was forced to refocus on finding a dry set up.
Kallio was only able to start putting in fast laps on his last exit this afternoon, after switching to the second of the two rear tyre options that Dunlop has made available this weekend. The Marc VDS rider is confident of significant improvements tomorrow, after closing to within a second of the fastest lap with a less than ideal set up on the bike.
Scott Redding #45: 3rd – 1'36.348
“It was difficult once again in the wet conditions this morning, but the positive thing is that the bike did feel better than the last time we ran in the rain. There's still some work to do with the wet set up, but I'm hoping we won't need it again this weekend. This afternoon's session was much better, once a dry line had started to appear around the track. You had to be a bit careful into turn one, which was still a bit damp, but the rest of the track was dry and I was able to push with some confidence. Third on the timesheet, and so close to the fastest time, is a pretty good start to the weekend, so I'm happy enough.”
Mika Kallio #36: 10th – 1'36.932
“Normally I have a good feeling with the bike in the wet, but this morning we just couldn't seem to find a good set up. We tried a few different things with no improvement, but we stayed on the same tyres throughout the session and that could well have been the issue. This afternoon we waited until the end of the session before switching to the other tyre option, which worked a lot better for me. Unfortunately it didn't leave me with so much time to put in a quick lap, but to finish just a second off the fastest time with a less than perfect set up gives us some confidence for tomorrow's final free practice and qualifying sessions.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“I think someone must have added it to the rules that mixed conditions are now mandatory for the first two free practice sessions, because it seems to have been the same at almost every race this season. Both riders seem to have a good feeling now in the dry, but we still need to work on wet set up if we get a chance which, looking at the weather forecast for this weekend, there's a good chance we will. We will wait to see what the weather brings, but I'm confident that, if qualifying is dry, the front two rows are a realistic target for both Scott and Mika.”