Rabat and Kallio both gunning for glory at the Dutch TT
Assen, Holland – 25 June 2014: The Marc VDS Racing Team are back in Northern Europe this weekend, for round eight of the Moto2 World Championship at the TT Circuit Assen.
Often referred to as the Cathedral of Speed, the Assen circuit has lost some of its character to modifications over the past decade, but it remains a favourite of many riders, including Rabat and Kallio.
Rabat heads to Holland looking to extend his lead at the top of the Moto2 World Championship standings. A win last time out in Catalunya means the 25-year-old Spaniard currently has a 34-point advantage over his Marc VDS teammate, who lies second in the standings.
For Kallio the goal this weekend is equally clear. The 31-year-old Finn needs to beat his Marc VDS teammate this weekend if he is to get his championship challenge back on track.
The Assen weekend is a big one for Livio Loi as, with no Belgian Grand Prix on the calendar, this is the race that is closest to the 17-year-old’s hometown of Helchteren. This weekend Loi will race a KTM machine, rather than the Kalex-KTM he’s campaigned since joining the Moto3 ranks in Jerez last year.
“The approach for Assen will be no different to previous races. We head to Holland to try and win again. I like the Assen track, with its fast corners and many changes of direction. It’s quite a physical track, one that is demanding of the riders, but my preparation has been good and I head into the weekend fighting fit and ready to push from the opening practice, like always. We are not quite at the halfway point of the season yet, so I’m not thinking in terms of the championship, only in terms of winning races.”
“The goal this weekend, and in Sachsenring, is to keep Tito behind me, as this means we will go into the summer break a little closer on points at the top of the championship. It’s not going to be easy because Tito is on form, but also we have some issues with rear grip on the hard option tyres. On these tyres in Mugello and Barcelona we couldn’t find the rear grip we needed during the race weekend. For this reason I hope that, here at Assen, Dunlop will bring the softer compound rears we had in Jerez and Le Mans, as we know we are more competitive on these tyres. Ten years ago, before it was modified, Assen was the best racetrack in the world. It’s not quite the same anymore, but there are parts of the old track still left and it still ranks as one of my favourites, and one where my results have been not so bad in the past.”
“I have struggled to find a good feeling with the bike, not just this year but last season too. Now we will change to the KTM at Assen. This will be the first time I’ve ridden the KTM, so I know it’s going to be a steep learning curve. The good thing is that I know the Assen track well, so I can focus only on adapting to the bike. It may be that the feeling is good from the start but, if not, then we need to do the work this weekend so that we’re fully prepared for Sachsenring, as I need at least a top ten finish in the final race before the summer break.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Both Tito and Mika have shown already that, no matter where we go, they will both be on the pace and at least one will be in a position to win on Sunday. I’m confident the same will be true here in Assen, although the win will need to come one day earlier as the Dutch TT is traditionally held on Saturday. Livio will switch to a KTM for his ‘home’ race this weekend. He has pushed for the change because he believes it is what he needs to rediscover the form he showed in Argentina. Now he has the bike he wanted it’s down to him. If he doesn’t perform here in Assen and in two weeks time at the Sachsenring then it will be pretty obvious where the fault lies, as the only thing we haven’t changed in a bid to make him more competitive is Livio himself.”