Tough day at Misano for Marc VDS trio
Scott Redding remains upbeat after taking a hard fought sixth in today’s San Marino Moto2 Grand Prix, despite his advantage in the title chase being reduced to 23 points.
Redding got a good start from the second row of the grid but was having to push hard to stay with Pol Espargaro and Tito Rabat during the early stages of the race, as the trio tried to chase down Takaaki Nakagami at the front of the field.
The 20-year-old Briton was losing ground to the two Spaniards coming onto the back straight on every lap, forcing him to go harder on the brakes and the throttle for the remainder of the lap, as he tried to maintain contact. Inevitably the demands on the tyres proved too much and performance dropped off, allowing the two Pons riders to pull away and pitching Redding into a battle with Dominique Aegerter and Johann Zarco. Redding eventually managed to force his way past Zarco to take sixth at the chequered flag.
A good start from 15th on the grid saw Mika Kallio slot into the second group of riders who, during the early stages of the race, were working to close the gap on the leaders. This forward momentum was somewhat impeded by the inclusion in the group of Mattia Pasini, who was obviously looking to impress in front of his home crowd.
On lap six the Italian collided with Kallio on three separate occasions, using the rear of the Marc VDS rider’s bike to reduce his speed on corner entry, rather than the more usual approach of utilising the brakes. The repeated collisions saw the group lose contact with the leaders, with the gap increasing further when Pasini went on to force both Kallio and himself off track later in the race. Kallio eventually managed to get away from the Italian to take ninth at the chequered flag.
Livio Loi missed out on a top 20 finish by the narrowest of margins, eventually finishing a creditable 22nd, having had to fight his way back after falling victim to two collisions during today’s 23-lap Moto3 race at Misano.
Loi got his best start of the season, leapfrogging the two rows ahead of him to move up to 16th on the run down to the first corner, only to lose out after being hit from behind and pushed wide. The 16-year-old Belgian was hit again on lap seven, forcing him off track and leaving him almost last by the time he re-joined the race. A concerted effort over the remaining laps saw Loi fight his way back to 22nd position at the chequered flag, missing out on the top 20 by less than one second.
Scott Redding #45: 6th
“We were struggling a little bit all weekend, not a lot, but we were definitely missing just a few tenths to the top three in qualifying. This morning was better, but we knew it was going to be a hard race. In the beginning I could stay with the leading group, but I was pushing hard on the first half of the lap, just to make up the ground I was losing coming onto the back straight every time. It meant I used a lot of tyre and that cost me towards the end of the race today. I did my best and managed to steal sixth from Zarco right at the end, so I’m not disappointed with today, although I’m obviously not happy to have seen my championship lead reduced to less than one race win again.”
Mika Kallio #36: 9th
“Today was more or less what I was expecting. Starting from the fifth row of the grid was never going to be easy, so I knew I was in for a tough race. We made a big change to the bike ahead of the race and there was a marked improvement. The feedback from the front tyre was better, the bike turned in better and the pace was better than it has been all weekend. I’m a bit disappointed with the end result, as we were closing on the leading group during the early part of the race, but I think Pasini thought he was battling for the win on the last lap rather than running in eighth place on the fifth. Three times he ran into the back of me, almost bringing us both down, which meant we lost contact with the leaders. We had problems all weekend with the bike, right up until the race, but we need to find a solution earlier in future, to ensure we start higher up the grid.”
Livio Loi #11: 22nd
“I got a good start, making up about two rows on the run down to turn one, but then I got touched and pushed wide at the first two turns and dropped back. I was fighting my way up to the front of my group when I got hit again, ran off the track, lost all my speed and re-joined almost in last place. I got my head down and managed to make contact with the same group, but I only had time to put in a couple of passes before the chequered flag. It’s not the result I wanted; I was happy enough with my pace today, and I never gave up, but the two collisions cost me a lot. I need to defend my position on track more aggressively, especially into turn one at the start, as other riders don’t hesitate to use their fairing to make a space.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Both Scott and Mika gave everything today, and I can’t ask any more of them than that. Yes, it’s a little disappointing to see Scott’s championship lead reduced to 23 points, but you can’t turn up each weekend expecting to win every race. Pol Espargaro and Tito Rabat are going to make us fight for this championship, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, and it certainly doesn’t to us. I’m not sure what was going on with Mika and Mattia Pasini, but there is more black paint on our bike than there is silver now, so it was obviously a pretty tough battle! Livio also learnt a lot today; he got a great start and was able to run a good pace, but he needs to defend his position on track a little more aggressively if he isn’t going to be an easy target, especially going into turn one for the first time. Overall, not a great weekend, but certainly not a bad one.”