Britain's Scott Redding went close to securing his maiden Moto2 victory after a stirring ride to second behind Pol Espargaro in Qatar.

The Marc VDS Racing prospect was locked in a thrilling duel with Spaniard Espargaro on the Tuenti HP 40 Kalex until the final lap, when he eventually lost out by 0.844s.

Redding overcame clutch issues early in the race to challenge Espargaro and although he believed he could emerge on top of their personal battle, in the end he had to settle for a fine runner-up finish.

"I'm happy to get the season started with a podium here in Qatar. I lost the clutch on the sighting lap, which is a problem we had in practice and qualifying," he said.

"The guys managed to fix it on the grid, but it wasn't right for the first few laps and the bike was really aggressive on corner entry.

"In the end I just feathered the clutch going into the turns until it sorted itself out.

"I wasn't expecting to lead here, so I didn't really have a plan once I got to the front, other than to keep a good rhythm and maintain my pace," added Redding.

"It was a good battle with Pol; I thought I had him on the last lap, but he's a tough rider and I couldn't quite make it through.

"Next time I know to try that little bit harder to push him into a mistake."

Redding's team-mate, Mika Kallio, finished fifth after fighting back from 10th place when the Finn was pushed wide on the opening laps.

"The chance of a podium for me was gone in the first few laps, unfortunately," he said.

"I got pushed wide in one turn and, in Moto2, it's not just one rider than goes up your inside when that happens.

"After that it took a while for me to find my rhythm and start moving back up through the field."


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