Fast start for new World Champion Rabat in Valencia
Valencia, Spain – 7 November 2014: The Marc VDS Racing Team’s Tito Rabat made an impressive start to his reign as new Moto2 World Champion with a top three finish at the end of the opening day of practice for the season’s final race in Valencia.
Spaniard Rabat, who claimed the Moto2 title with a 13th podium of the season in Sepang, set a personal best lap of 1.35.604 on a day he spent focusing on improving corner entry performance with his Kalex machine.
Rabat was only 0.340s off the best pace set by Johann Zarco and one place ahead of teammate Mika Kallio, who is looking to secure a 1-2 finish in the overall standings for Marc VDS Racing on Sunday to cap a dominant campaign from the Belgium-based squad.
Kallio too dedicated the majority of his time on track today to gaining more confidence on corner entry and his best lap of 1.35.855 secured him fourth spot.
Jorge Navarro took advantage of his extensive knowledge of the tight and twisty Ricardo Tormo track layout to finish just over 0.8s off the fastest pace in two exceptionally close Moto3 practice sessions.
The Spaniard was 16th quickest but satisfied with his consistent pace after making big improvements with rear grip this afternoon.
Tito Rabat // 3rd // 1’35.604
“Today felt very special as it was my first time on track since winning the World Championship in Malaysia. It was not an easy day because this morning I didn’t have the best grip with the hard tyres. I was better with the softer options this afternoon but I never have a good feeling with this track. It is very slow and tight but I could go fast in FP2 and finish in the top three. We need to work to get more entry grip because it doesn’t seem like we have as much grip as last year. But I am confident I can fight for the win on Sunday.”
Mika Kallio // 4th // 1’35.855
“I am pretty satisfied because this morning I didn’t have full confidence with the front. I struggled to turn into the corner and couldn’t push to the limit. We changed the front settings for FP2 and immediately I felt faster and I was inside the top five all of the time. I did long runs on both the soft and hard rear tyre options today and my pace was constant, but I am still 0.5s behind the top two and it seems their chassis package like always works very strong at this track. It is not easy to come to this level but we are working in the right direction to reduce the gap.”
Jorge Navarro // 16th // 1’40.503
“I am happy to start my home race strongly because throughout the day we made good steps forward with the bike. My crew did a great job improving the rear grip this afternoon because in FP1 I couldn’t open the throttle with too much confidence and the bike moved a lot. I am only 0.8s off the best time and the positive point of today is my pace. All my times were very close to my best and I did all my laps riding alone.”