Marc VDS get Qatar weekend off to a flying start
Losail, Qatar – 20 March 2014: Tito Rabat got the first race weekend of the season in Qatar off to a flying start, finishing tonight’s two free practice sessions in second place and just 0.052s off Takaaki Nakagami’s provisional pole position time.
Mika Kallio posted the fastest lap during tonight’s opening free practice but, despite improving his time in the second session, eventually ended the evening tenth on the timesheet.
The top 15 Moto2 riders were separated by less than one second.
Livio Loi missed the Qatar race last season because he was still underage, but the 16-year-old Belgian quickly got to grips with the Losail circuit during tonight’s two free practice sessions. An improvement of almost two seconds in FP2 saw Loi finish an impressive 13th, just 1.2s off Romano Fenati’s provisional pole time.
Tito Rabat // 2nd // 2’00.574
“The feeling with the bike was good from the start, the pace was fast and I felt comfortable with the lap times. The track was a little bit dirty today, like always on the first day in Qatar, but it will clean up tomorrow and the lap times will improve further. Tomorrow we will look for further improvements, but the good thing is that we only need to make small changes to the setup of the bike to achieve this. I’m happy to finally get the season underway and I’m pleased with how things have gone today here in Qatar.”
Mika Kallio // 10th // 2’01.039
“In the first session the feeling with the bike was good from the start, on the base setting we refined during preseason testing. My lap times were consistent and it’s always good to end the first session at the top of the timesheet. In the second session we used the harder option tyre, as there’s a good chance this will be the race tyre and, again, the lap times were consistent. What I didn’t get was a proper flying lap; I was on my fastest lap right at the end, with a red through sector 1, but I got the bike sideways out of turn 10 and lost time. Today was a good way to start the new season and tomorrow we will look for further improvements with the harder option tyre.”
Livio Loi // 13th // 2’07.403
“I’m happy with the two practices today. This is a new track for me, so I’m still learning my way around, but my lap times improved with every exit in the first session, despite some mistakes at certain parts of the track. I started the second session where I finished the first and, again, my lap time came down as I got a better feel for the track. For sure there is more to come tomorrow, because I was still making the odd mistake here and there in the last session, but I’m pretty pleased with the progress we made tonight.”