Scott Redding and Mika Kallio are to remain in Moto2 with the Marc VDS Racing team for the 2013 season. The team is to also expand into Moto3, adding young Belgian rider and former Red Bull Rookie Livio Loi.
The signing of Redding and Kallio brings to an end a saga over Redding's future which has lasted for several months now. The young British rider had been widely expected to make the move up to MotoGP this season, Redding clearly suffering as a result of his size on board a horsepower-limited Moto2 machine. At first, it looked like Redding would be part of the Ducati Junior team, the Englishman posting impressive times during private testing with Ducati, but the long, drawn-out process of putting that team together saw Redding drop out of the race. Redding was also very close to securing the San Carlo Gresini Honda ride, but the politics between Honda and Dorna over the spec ECU saw him passed over for the ride.
Marc VDS' Moto2 line up almost contained the Frenchman Johann Zarco. A contract had already been signed between the two parties, but was torn up after Zarco's manager took a dislike to someone - unrelated to the team - spotted in the Marc VDS garage at Aragon.
Livio Loi is a welcome addition to the Moto3 grid. The young Belgian has been very impressive in the second half of the Red Bull Rookies season, racking up a couple of podiums and a race win. Loi has been signed to a two-year contract, and will campaign a Kalex KTM in 2013, an obvious choice given the team's ties to Kalex in Moto2.
Below is the press release from Marc VDS announcing their 2013 plans:
Redding and Kallio stay as Marc VDS expand into Moto3 in 2013
Sepang, Malaysia - 18 October 2012: The Marc VDS Racing Team can today confirm that their Moto2 rider line up will remain unchanged for 2013. For the third successive season Scott Redding and Mika Kallio will spearhead the Marc VDS Racing Team's assault on the World Championship aboard the latest specification Kalex Moto2 machines.
The two riders have taken eight Moto2 podium finishes between them for the Marc VDS Racing Team but, so far, a race win in the mostly hotly contested Grand Prix class has remained elusive. Both riders are determined to rectify this situation before the end of the current season, before focussing on the championship title in 2013.
The Marc VDS Racing Team will also field young Belgian rider, Livio Loi, in the 2013 FIM Moto3 Championship, having had their application for a grid slot confirmed in Malaysia. Loi, who hails from Helchteren in the Flemish part of Belgium, impressed in the Red Bull Rookies Cup this year, taking a race win and two podium finishes in his debut season, in a series that has become a breeding ground for future Grand Prix stars.
With the plans for 2013 confirmed, the Marc VDS Racing Team will now focus solely on this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, the first time the Grand Prix paddock has returned to the Sepang circuit since Marco Simoncelli's tragic death here just 12 months ago.
Scott Redding #45:
"Where I'll ride next year has been something of a distraction recently, so I'm happy to have signed for my fourth season with the Marc VDS Racing Team and now I can focus on these last three races. So far I've stood on every step of the Moto2 podium but the top one, and that has to be the target before the end of the year. This weekend will be difficult, not just because of the two long straights here at Sepang, but also because of the memories this track holds for everyone after Sic's tragic crash here last year. We remembered him with a ceremony today, but we'll also honour him by going balls out in Sunday's race, which is exactly what he would be doing if he was still with us."
Mika Kallio #36:
"I'm happy to be staying with the Marc VDS Racing Team next season. I had a couple of other options for 2013, but a third year here was the best of them all, so I'm pleased that we managed to work everything out. Malaysia was the turning point in the season for me last year and, after two difficult races in Spain and Japan, I'm hoping the same will be true again this time around. We have some upgrades for the bike this weekend, which should offer significant improvements, but we'll need to evaluate them in practice before using them in the race. Of course, this year's race here in Malaysia will be a poignant one, as it's the first time we've visited Sepang since Marco's fatal crash here 12 months ago. He was a larger than life character who still lives on in the memories of everyone in the paddock."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"We are happy to have signed Scott and Mika for another season with the Marc VDS Racing Team in Moto2. Doing so now means they can focus solely on the last three races of the season, with the team's first Moto2 race win a target for them both. Livio Loi will also join the team in 2013, to contest the Moto3 World Championship aboard a Kalex KTM machine. Livio has impressed in the Red Bull Rookies Cup this season, but the step up to the Moto3 World Championship will be a big one for him, which is why we've signed him on a two-year deal. His first season will be a learning year, but I'm confident he'll be challenging for results in year two. The plans for 2013 are finalised, but we have to finish this season strongly, starting this weekend in Malaysia. The conditions here in Sepang always make for a difficult race weekend, but this year will be even tougher because it's the first time we've returned since Marco's tragic death 12 months ago. It will be a hard race for us, but it will be doubly hard for San Carlo Gresini Honda this weekend and our thoughts are with Fausto Gresini and his team."
Marc van der Straten: President, Marc VDS Racing Team
"I am happy that Scott and Mika will once again represent the Marc VDS Racing Team in the Moto2 World Championship next season. They have formed a formidable partnership over the last two years, with both contributing greatly to the success of the team. I am positive that before the end of next year we'll see them both on the top step of the podium. Personally I am very excited about Livio Loi joining the Marc VDS Racing Team to contest the Moto3 World Championship next season. Developing young Belgian talent has been one of our objectives since we started our adventure on two wheels, and there is no doubt in my mind that Livio has what it takes to succeed at the very highest level. Now that we've been granted a place on the grid a new chapter in our two-wheeled adventure can begin."