Estoril, Portugal – 4 May 2012: Scott Redding was the fastest man on track at Estoril today, topping the timesheet during this afternoon’s second free practice session. Mika Kallio was tenth fastest, after using today’s two sessions to evaluate different front-end settings on his Kalex Moto2 machine.
Redding was third fastest in this morning’s opening free practice session, which was run on a drying track but with damp patches still evident following overnight rain. The Marc VDS rider continued to run up the front during this afternoon’s 45-minute session, for which the track had finally dried out fully.
The 19-year-old Briton posted his fastest time just after the halfway point this afternoon, in a session where all his flying laps were within just a few tenths of his fastest time. Redding was almost half a second clear at the top of the timesheet, until a concerted effort by Marc Marquez cut the gap to just two tenths shortly before the chequered flag.
Kallio struggled with the front-end set-up last timeout in Jerez, so focussed today on evaluating two different front suspension options on his Kalex Moto2 machine. Both options offered both positives and negatives, but the set-up for this afternoon’s session didn’t give the 29-year-old Finn the necessary confidence to push for a fast lap time. Kallio is confident that his crew have a clear direction with the set-up for tomorrow’s free practice and the all-important qualifying session.
Both Marc VDS riders are confident of fighting for a place on the front two rows of the grid during tomorrow afternoon’s 45-minute qualifying session.
Scott Redding #45: 1st – 1’41.775
“We had a good weekend in Jerez, we’ve made some progress with the bike and now I want it; I want it bad! This afternoon I just pushed as hard as I could throughout the session and my times were both fast and consistent, which is exactly what I was looking for. Tomorrow I’ll be doing exactly the same, with the front two rows of the grid the target in qualifying. My crew chief, Pete Benson, celebrates his 50th birthday today and I hope we’ll be able to give him the present he deserves in the race on Sunday.”
Mika Kallio #36: 10th – 1’42.711
“Today we tried two different front end settings on the bike, one in the morning session and one in the afternoon. For the second free practice session I didn’t really have the confidence in the front to push hard, because the front tyre wouldn’t really hold a line and was skipping over the bumps in the turns. The grip was also a bit inconsistent, which doesn’t inspire confidence either. To be honest there was something missing with each of the two set-ups, but by testing them both today we now have a clear direction for tomorrow. Scott showed what the bike is capable of; he was unbelievably fast this afternoon. Now we need to match his times tomorrow.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen Scott push so hard in a free practice session, but a lot of it was down to the confidence he now has in the bike after the race last weekend in Jerez. If qualifying is dry tomorrow then I’m confident he will start the race on Sunday from the front two rows of the grid. Mika used the two sessions today to evaluate different front-end set-up options on his bike, after some issues in Jerez. It meant he wasn’t able to set a fast time this afternoon, but the work will pay off tomorrow in qualifying, when he too will be aiming for the front two rows of the grid.”