Dominant Rabat on pole at Mugello
Mugello, Italy – 31 May 2014: Moto2 World Championship leader, Tito Rabat, will start from pole position for the fourth time this season, after dominating qualifying at Mugello this afternoon. Mika Kallio will start the Italian Moto2 Grand Prix from 11th on the grid, after struggling with set up and traffic in today’s 45-minute timed session.
Rabat topped the timesheet in all three dry sessions at Mugello this weekend, slipping down the order only in the wet session yesterday afternoon. The 25-year-old Spaniard heads into tomorrow’s race full of confidence and determined to stamp his authority back on the championship that he has led from the opening round in Qatar.
While Rabat has ridden a wave of confidence all weekend, Kallio has struggled to find a set up to suit the demands of the Mugello circuit. The Finn started yesterday on the same set up as in Le Mans, but was forced to make the bike more reactive to handle the fast changes of direction for which Mugello is renowned. Unfortunately this robbed him of the front-end feel needed to push over the limit on a quick qualifying lap.
Livio Loi endured a disappointing qualifying session, which he finished in 28th place. The 17-year-old Belgian made some radical changes to his Kalex-KTM Moto3 machine today, after suffering with a lack of feedback from the front yesterday, with positive results. Loi’s feeling with the front improved, increasing his confidence in the fast corners, but he simply ran out of time today.
Tito Rabat // Pole Position // 1’52.718
“I’m happy because we’ve done a good job this weekend and it’s always a little easier starting a race from pole position. But we still have work to do, first in warm up and then in the race. We’ve made good practices before, only for me to be unhappy with the race result, especially the last two races, so tomorrow is very important. I will try to win tomorrow, like always, but it will be a tough fight once again, I’m sure.”
Mika Kallio // 11th // 1’53.331
“All weekend we’ve struggled to find a compromise with the set up. Yesterday the bike was too comfortable and too slow to change direction, so we went for a more reactive set up today. While this improved the agility of the bike, it also lost us some feeling with the front, which meant it was difficult to push for a fast qualifying time. In the last two races I’ve felt in control pushing that little bit over the limit needed for a qualifying lap, but today was different. Instead of feeling in control of the bike, it felt like I was only able to react to what the bike did. It also felt like I was close to crashing, which is never good for your confidence! We have a few things to try in warm up tomorrow, which we hope will improve things for the race.”
Livio Loi // 28th // 1’59.413
“We had no choice but to make big changes for today and, thankfully, it worked. We didn’t get an instant improvement, but the fact that the feedback from the front we were missing yesterday had returned today meant at least we had a good base from which to work. When the feedback is there you can properly assess changes, which is exactly what we did. We started to improve the bike bit by bit, but then we simply ran out of time. I’m confident we can make further improvements ahead of warm up tomorrow, but that’s not going to make starting from 28th on the grid any easier. Tomorrow in the race, the beast needs to come out!”
Michael Bartholemy // Team Principal
“Apart from yesterday’s wet session, Tito has pretty much dominated all weekend. After losing out to his teammate the last two races, and seeing his championship lead reduced significantly, I am sure he’ll be going all out for the win tomorrow. Mika has struggled to find a good compromise with the set up, but starting from the fourth row of the grid is nothing new for him and he’ll be strong in the race, of that I’m sure. As for Livio, desperate times call for desperate measures, and the changes we made to his bike for today couldn’t have been more extreme. It worked, and his feeling with the front is better, but he still has a mountain to climb in the race. If he can find further improvements in warm up then his goal will be a points scoring finish tomorrow.”