Pole position for record breaker Rabat at Motegi
Motegi, Japan – 11 October 2014: An impressive performance from Tito Rabat saw the Moto2 World Championship leader claim pole position and a new outright lap record at Motegi this afternoon.
Yesterday Rabat closed to within 0.1s of the outright circuit record to end the day at the top of the timesheet, a position he also claimed during this morning’s final Moto2 free practice session. The 25-year-old Spaniard carried this momentum into qualifying, where he took pole position from Tom Lüthi with a final flying lap that was 0.032s inside the existing circuit record, set by Pol Espargaro in 2012.
It is Rabat’s eighth pole position in 2014, equalling the record for the most poles in one season, again set by Espargaro in 2012.
Mika Kallio will start tomorrow’s 23-lap Moto2 race from the second row of the grid, after qualifying in fifth position this afternoon. The 31-year-old Finn continued to struggle with a lack of feeling with the front end of his Kalex Moto2 machine, especially under braking and on corner entry. Kallio is determined to find a solution tonight, which he’ll test in warm up tomorrow morning.
Jorge Navarro continued to make significant improvements to his lap time in free practice and then qualifying this afternoon, as his knowledge of the technical Motegi circuit improved. The 18-year-old Spaniard will start tomorrow’s 20-lap Moto3 race from 16th on the grid, after qualifying just 1.188s outside Danny Kent’s pole position time.
Tito Rabat // Pole Position // 1’50.854
“I’m really happy with today’s pole position, as we did a good job together as a team and the bike was working well in qualifying. So everything is good, but I was losing a little time through the final sector, so this is something we need to look at for tomorrow. It will be a hard race, because it always is here at Motegi, especially at the start with a full fuel load. All we can do is try and find some further improvements for tomorrow and then prepare for a tough race.”
Mika Kallio // 5th // 1’51.312
“I’m not happy at all, even if the qualifying position is not so bad. I have struggled with the front end of the bike all weekend and nothing we have tried has brought a significant improvement. We’ve changed everything, working through every option we’ve used this year, but it hasn’t worked. I can feel the difference but while some of the changes brought an improvement in one area, they also caused problems in another. It’s difficult, because I can do the lap time, but I feel like I’m on the limit and likely to crash in almost every corner. We need to find a solution, because it’s not possible to maintain a good pace over full race distance like this. Hopefully we can come up with something for warm up, or tomorrow’s race will be a tough one.”
Jorge Navarro // 16th // 1’57.743
“I’m happy with qualifying today, as we’ve made good progress all weekend. Yesterday the feeling with the bike wasn’t so good, but today was a new day and we saw an improvement with every lap. Tomorrow I need to improve in some areas of the track, as that’s where I’m losing most of my time, so we have to keep working, but I’m happy enough with what we’ve achieved so far this weekend.”