Podium the target for Rabat and Kallio in Qatar
Tito Rabat and Mika Kallio head to the Middle East determined to get their 2014 Moto2 World Championship campaign off to a flying start in Qatar, after topping the timesheet at all three preseason tests in which they participated.
In Valencia and Phillip Island it was Rabat who dominated, posting the fastest time at Circuit Ricardo Tormo and then going on to smash the lap record in Australia during the Dunlop tyre test.
In Jerez, Kallio waited until the final session of the three-day test before replacing his teammate at the top of the timesheet. The 31-year-old Finn’s time of 1’42.169 was not bettered during the final Jerez test, which the two Marc VDS Moto2 riders didn’t attend.
It bodes well for the opening race of the 2014 season, which takes place under floodlights this weekend at the Losail International Circuit on the outskirts of Doha, the capital city of Qatar.
Livio Loi heads to Qatar with a point to prove, after struggling to match his previous lap times at the final preseason test in Jerez. The 16-year-old Belgian, however, remains confident of opening his 2014 campaign with a good result in the first race of the season.
“Preseason testing has gone well. We’ve found a good setting with the bike and the lap times have been fast, but now we must carry that momentum into the first race. I’m going to Qatar to fight for the win, but I suspect the other 34 Moto2 riders are heading out there with exactly the same idea! Everyone arrives at the first race of the season with a lot of energy and high expectations, so it’s definitely a bit special. I like the Qatar track, but we will need to fight from the first practice to stay in front. We need to work hard, make our best and push every day.”
“The results from the end of last year when combined with our preseason testing performance means we go into 2014 with some confidence. The first three races are the most important; if we can return to Europe at the end of April with three good results behind us then that only adds confidence and motivation. I really believe that this season I can fight for race wins and also the title. While Qatar doesn’t rate as one of my favourite tracks, I’ve had some good results there in the past and I find racing under floodlights quite interesting, as it’s a bit different to the other races on the calendar.”
“In the last session on the last day at the Jerez test, when the wind had dropped a little, I started to get the feeling back with the bike, so I’m happy enough going into the first race of the season in Qatar. I didn’t race there last year, because I was too young, so the track will be new for me, as will racing at night under floodlights. But, I’ve been practicing on the PlayStation and I will be giving it 200% this weekend, to ensure I get my first full season in Moto3 off to a good start.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“We couldn’t have asked anything more of Tito, Mika and their respective crews during preseason testing this year. Between them they have dominated testing, topping the timesheet at every test in which they participated. It means we go into the new season confident that both riders can fight for race wins and, ultimately, the championship title. Despite a disappointing final preseason test in Jerez, and not having raced in Qatar previously, Livio remains confident of a good result this weekend. He certainly has a point to prove; the team has done everything possible to prepare him for his second season in Moto3, but now it’s down to him. He’s been given an opportunity many can only dream of, but now he needs to repay the faith shown in him with results.”