Scott Redding will line up 17th on the grid for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix at Mugello. The Marc VDS rider failed to make it through to QP2 automatically and with fast times in QP1 he was unable to challenge for a top two spot and earn a place in the final qualifying shootout.
The 22-year-old had made progress with improving his feeling on the Factory spec RC213V Honda on Friday but with the Factory class riders not being able to use the extra soft tyre, Redding was unable to match the pace of the leaders in the first qualifying session. Traffic was also an issue for Redding during the session. With 16 riders sharing the 5.2km Mugello circuit, all were looking to lap with each other to take advantage of a crucial slipstream, making finding space on the track a real challenge.
A frustrated Redding said: “I don’t know what to say because I went faster with the old tyre than I did on the new tyre and I don’t know why. There was quite a lot of traffic with everyone waiting and that’s really frustrating. Because we don’t have the soft tyre we have to push for the whole lap. The tyre didn’t work as well as I was expecting but even on my last lap, when I was on for a personal best in the first two sectors, Hernandez pulled off the track at the last corner when I was outside him and I nearly hit the back of him. It’s frustrating to be where we are because I was faster on old tyres earlier. You feel like you make steps forward and then you get pushed back again. The race will be different because it’s longer and our race pace isn’t bad but our one lap pace is still a weakness for us at the moment.”
Team boss Michael Bartholemy was equally disappointed. He said: “We had a good day on Friday and this afternoon we were expecting to make an improvement but we didn’t make any at all. It’s a disappointing position to be starting from with the package that we have. I’m not sure of what benefit the softer tyre gives here but, anyway, we should still be third or fourth in this session because 17th is quite far down the grid. We know that other people have the soft tyre advantage in QP1, so we have to accept that this is like it is but, in the end, we should be directly behind them.”