Scott Redding scored his first pole position in Texas and now leads a world championship category for the first time in his career after he secured a hard fought fifth place at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA).
A first Moto2 win though still eludes the 20-year-old after chronic front and rear grip issues saw him fall out of the lead at COTA to fifth.
But with Qatar winner Pol Espargaro falling heavily but unhurt on lap four and fellow title rival Takaaki Nakagami retiring early with a mechnical issue, Redding’s crucial 11-point haul moved him into the championship lead heading to the start of the European phase of the 2013 World Championship in Jerez next month.
The British rider though bemoaned rapidly deteroriating front and rear grip for his failure to add to his second place in the Qatar night race earlier this month.
He told MCN: “Starting from pole position I was obviously hoping to be on the podium at least but I expected it to be a difficult race and that’s how it turned out.
My plan was to try and make a break so I could try and manage the tyres and not wear them too quickly in a battle. But it never worked out because I couldn’t get it back into first gear at the start of the second lap and I dropped back from first to third. I got my head down but the tyres dropped off really quickly.
I didn’t expect them to lose grip as bad as they did and it was a case of salvaging fifth and not taking any risks. I was looking to see if Espargaro and Nakagami were going to be coming through but I figured they were out, so I just had to use my brain and not push too hard to risk a crash.”
Redding now leads the Moto2 championship hunt by four-points from Marc VDS Racing teammate Mika Kallio, Esteve Rabat and Texas winner Nicolas Terol, who are all locked on 27-points.
He added: “I am leading the championship and that's a great feeling. Now I’m at the top I need to hold it together for the rest of the year.”
For more coverage of the inaugural Texas MotoGP weekend, see the April 24 issue of Motor Cycle News.