Masterful Rabat wins at home
Barcelona, Spain – 15 June 2014: Tito Rabat gave his home crowd something to cheer about today, as he took his fourth win of the season in masterful style in Barcelona. After leading the race on the opening lap, Mika Kallio dropped back to eventually finish fourth, after struggling for rear grip from lap six onwards.
Rabat, starting from pole for the fifth time this season, narrowly won the drag race with his teammate to lead the race into turn one, but found himself pushed back to third as first Kallio and the Maverick Viñales forced their way through. The 25-year-old Spaniard retook the race lead for the final time on lap three, eventually pulling away from the pursuing Viñales to win by over four seconds.
While Rabat celebrated the win, Kallio was left frustrated after narrowly missing out on the podium on the final lap of the race. The 31-year-old Finn led the opening lap, but with rear grip dropping off just six laps into the race he fell back into a fierce battle with Tom Lüthi, Dominique Aegerter and, in the final stages, Johann Zarco. On the final lap Kallio forced his way through into third, but was pushed back to fourth by a hard, but fair, move by Zarco just three corners from the chequered flag.
Rabat’s win puts him 34 points clear at the top of the Moto2 World Championship standings, with his Marc VDS teammate, Kallio, now second, with a 26 point advantage over Viñales in third.
Livio Loi looked set to fight his way into the points today, as he battled his way through the field from 23rd on the grid. The 17-year-old Belgian had just made contact with the group disputing tenth place, but a mistake saw him drop back down the order to eventually finish 25th.
Tito Rabat // Race Winner
“I’m very happy with the whole weekend. In the race I made a good start and I enjoyed a good battle with first Mika Kallio and then Maverick Viñales, but then I pushed very hard to get away and managed to pull a gap at the front of the race. It’s always special to win at home, because you can feel the support of the crowd, but now we need to focus on the next race at Assen, to make sure we arrive there at 100% and ready to try and win again.”
Mika Kallio // 4th
“The first four laps were okay, but then we had the same problem we had in qualifying, with the rear grip dropping completely down. After that there was nothing to do anymore. This problem we have with the really hard tyre has always been the same for me, especially here in Barcelona. This time was a little worse, because the tyres are even harder than in previous years. Hopefully they’ll bring tyres to Assen and Sachsenring that are at the softer end of the range. Anyway, I passed Lüthi at the end of the back straight for third, but then he came back and pushed us both wide. That meant we couldn’t get back on the throttle and it allowed Zarco to come up the inside. We touched and I ran wide, and that was it. I’m disappointed not to be on the podium, but satisfied that at least we picked up more points.”
Livio Loi // 25th
“Obviously I’m disappointed with the result. We knew it was going to be a tough race starting from 23rd position on the grid, but I got a good start and made up some places, only to get pushed off the track on the entry to turn one. I fought my way through to the head of the group I was in, but then five or six riders would pass me on the straight every time. Eventually I managed to close on the group ahead of me, but then made a small mistake and dropped right back. I’m not happy with the result. We still have some issue with the bike but, even so, points could have been possible today but for the mistake.”
Michael Bartholemy // Team Principal
“It was a great race by Tito today, although him and Mika nearly gave me a heart attack going into turn one on the opening lap! Once he’d got through into the lead again on lap five, Tito did a great job of controlling the race from the front, winning in front of his home crowd with a comfortable margin. He’s now 34 points ahead in the championship and 60 points clear of the first non-Marc VDS rider. That’s a good position to be in. Mika was strong in the opening stages, but encountered the same grip issues with the harder tyre that he’s had previously. He did well to finish fourth and was unlucky to lose out on the last podium place so close to the finish. Livio was given a clear target at the start of the season and, unfortunately, his result today means he has fallen short of this goal. We need to sit down as a team and decide where we go from here, because we’re not here to finish outside the points every week.”