Rabat and Kallio battle for Texas podium
Austin, Texas – 13 April 2014: Tito Rabat maintained his 100% podium record in 2014 after the Marc VDS Racing Team rider rode to a determined second place in an entertaining Moto2 race at the Circuit of the Americas.
After a delayed start when rain spots fell just moments before the warm-up lap, Rabat recovered brilliantly from sixth position to take second, extending his World Championship lead to seven-points over race winner Maverick Vinales.
The physical demands of the long and technical COTA track, which features some of the hardest braking zones and fastest changes of direction on the calendar, aggravated on old left shoulder injury for Mika Kallio.
The Finn ignored the intense pain to keep himself in the podium hunt right to the chequered flag and he eventually finished just over a second behind third place in fourth.
Front-end modifications and a super aggressive start to the 18-lap Moto3 race were decisive in helping Livio Loi enjoy a positive race debut at COTA.
The Belgian teenager came from 24th on the grid to score his first World Championship points of the season with a hard earned 12th position, which equals his best ever Moto3 finish.
Tito Rabat // 2nd
“After making the pole position obviously I wanted to win but these are 20 very important points for the Championship. I got a good start but there was a lot of contact throughout the race, so I pushed as hard as I could and I’m satisfied to come through to second. I had a problem with the gearbox again in the first gear corners. It was so bad at the end I wasn’t even using first gear, so to finish second is a positive result and we can go to Argentina leading the World Championship and ready to fight for the victory again.”
Mika Kallio // 4th
“I was really strong at the start of the race and I was always around fourth position and confident my pace was good enough to stay with the first group and get on the podium again. I was right in contention and then suddenly I started to get a really bad pain in my left arm and shoulder from an old injury. I lost power in my hand and I kept making mistakes on the brakes and it was hard to use the clutch for shifting down. The pain was coming so bad in the shoulder I just wanted to finish the race and without that I am sure I could have finished on the podium.”
Livio Loi // 12th
“I am really happy to score my first points of the season at the end of a difficult weekend. We made a positive change for the warm-up to help the bike turn better in the fast and flowing sections and it really helped my feeling and confidence on the bike. I just decided to ride like a beast. At the first corner I passed about six riders and I kept working my way up. And at the end I am really happy to keep Bastianini, Ajo and Oliveira behind me because it was a great battle.”
Michael Bartholemy // Team Principal
“Tito did another great job today and I am happy he is back on the podium to remain at the top of the Championship. The clutch and gearbox problems he had in the first gear corners yesterday weren’t completely fixed, so we couldn’t give him the best package today. So we have to say a big thanks to him because he made a great job. And it is a pity Mika had some problems with his left shoulder because I’ve no doubt without that we’d be celebrating a double podium for the second race in a row otherwise. I’m pleased with Livio to equal his best result in Moto3 because he beat some quality opposition in a straight fight like Oliveira, who was close to the podium in Qatar. Hopefully this is the platform for him to build on to establish himself as a consistent top 15 finisher, which was our big pre-season target for him.”