Tough starts for Redding and Kallio in Qatar

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Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The 2011 Moto2 World Championship campaign kicked off in disappointing fashion for the Marc VDS Racing Team in Qatar.

Mika Kallio's debut in the ultra-competitive Moto2 class was a hard fought affair, the Finnish rider ending the Losail International Circuit encounter in 20th position. Highly fancied Scott Redding's challenge ended prematurely when he crashed on the second lap while fighting to break into the top ten. He remounted to finish 31st.

Having worked throughout practice and qualifying to gain more confidence with the front-end of his Suter MMXI machine, Kallio was engaged in an exciting five-rider fight for 17th that included World Supersport champion Kenan Sofuoglu and former 125 World Champion Mike di Meglio.

But pushing too hard to improve his position in the second half of the race, the Finnish rider started to encounter a small front-end vibration and was just unable to overhaul Di Meglio on the final lap to claim a place in the top 20.

Redding was optimistic of mounting a podium challenge going into the 20-lap race but starting from 10th on the grid, he lost four places in a typically frenetic first lap. Seeking to swiftly move back into the top ten and hunt down the leading pack, Redding crashed out on the second lap, the 18 year-old losing the front-end at the second corner.

Determined to atone for his small early mistake, Redding remounted his Suter MMXI machine, and despite losing his left footpeg in the spill, he completed the full race distance to gain vital data and information to help him bounce back when the season resumes at Jerez.

Mika Kallio:
"I was hoping to be much closer to the points because the feeling with the bike was better for the race. It wasn't a huge step we found in the warm-up last night but we ran a harder front suspension setting and we gained some feeling on corner entry. The problem is, I haven't found a really good feeling with either of the two tyre options that were available here and it was the same at the last test in Jerez. Maybe that is one reason why I've not been faster here. In the first eight laps I was catching some guys in front and it was a good battle. But as soon as I caught the group I started having some chatter from the front and, unfortunately, I couldn't keep in contact for the pack fighting for 15th position. The gap to the front group is too big and we have to be much closer at the next race in Jerez. I had a good test there so we will work to improve the setting in practice and have a much stronger race."

Scott Redding:
"I'm really disappointed and this wasn't the way I expected to start the season at all. The new chassis we're running this year has improved the rear traction a lot but I haven't found a good feeling with the front yet. The front is a bit too unpredictable at the moment, so I never really know when I'm going to have a problem. I was pushing into the second corner and without any warning I lost the front. I tried to pick it up on my elbow but it was too late and I was down. The left footpeg broke off and the left handlebar was all bent but I carried on because my guys in the Marc VDS Racing Team have worked really hard all weekend. It is always good to start the season with some good results to build up confidence and I am convinced we will bounce back in Jerez. I was fast at the test recently and, hopefully, I'll be able to show much more of what I'm capable of."

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