Rabat extends championship lead with podium at Aragón

Rabat extends championship lead with podium at Aragón

Aragón, Spain – 28 September 2014: Tito Rabat finished second in the Moto2 Grand Prix of Aragon, extending his lead in the World Championship over Marc VDS teammate, Mika Kallio, who finished seventh today.

It was Kallio who made the early running, leading the race for the first four laps, but the 31-year-old Finn started to struggle for rear grip after eventual race winner Maverick Viñales passed him for the lead. Lacking drive out of the turns, Kallio eventually dropped down the order to finish seventh.

As Kallio was dropping back, Rabat was pushing on, eventually passing Johann Zarco for second at half race distance, before posting his fastest laps of the race as he tried to close the gap to race leader Viñales. The 25-year-old Spaniard managed to close to within a second of his fellow countryman, but simply ran out of laps and was forced to settle for second and a place on the podium.

Rabat now leads the Moto2 World Championship by 33 points, more than one win, from his Marc VDS teammate Kallio, with just four races remaining.

Jorge Navarro looked all set to claim a top ten finish in today’s Moto3 race but, like many of his rivals, the 18-year-old Spaniard was caught out by the tricky mixed conditions and crashed at turn three while running in 8th position.

Tito Rabat // 2nd
“Yesterday I crashed in qualifying then this morning I had a difficult warm up in the wet, so I’m happy to finish on the podium today. It was lucky that the rain held off, other than a few spots during the race. I got a good start, tried to push straight away, but then I got into a fight with Mika. We lost two positions and once I’d got past Mika I had to pass Aegerter and Zarco, by which time Viñales had gone. I tried to push on and close the gap, but congratulations to him as he rode a clever race and never let me get close enough. I want to say a big thank you to the team because, when you have a difficult weekend, it is them that keep you calm and help you focus on what’s important. Now the focus is on Japan. New race, new country, new weekend, but the same aim; try to fight for the win.”

Mika Kallio // 7th
“The first part of the race was good. I got away at the front and then tried to stay calm, ride smoothly and conserve the tyre as much as possible. When Viñales came past I could stay with him at first, but then the rear grip started to drop off, the rear started spinning up and I was struggling to drive the bike out of the turns. It dropped me back into the group behind and we lost some time battling for position. I wasn’t getting the drive onto the straight, so I couldn’t pass under braking, but the others could and there was nothing I could do to stop them. I don’t know what the problem was, because we made no changes to the bike and the tyre doesn’t look so bad. Maybe the cooler conditions played a part, but there was just no grip and it’s something we need to look into.”  

Jorge Navarro // DNF
“I got away from the line pretty well and the feeling with the bike was good over the opening few laps. Conditions were difficult today; there was a definite dry line, but also a lot of wet patches on the track. I was inside the top ten when I just touched a wet part of the track at turn three and crashed. I’m really disappointed because I had a very good opportunity to make a good result today. Sometimes racing is like this, especially in these conditions, so now the focus is on Japan.”

Michael Bartholemy // Team Principal
“Once again Tito has shown his calibre, coming back from a difficult qualifying yesterday to extend his championship lead with second place today. It was a good race from him and I’m pretty sure he’d have been challenging for the win if he hadn’t been held up by the battles in the opening laps. I know Mika will be disappointed with seventh today, but there was little else he could have done once the tyre started to go off. It’s a long straight here at Aragon and if you don’t get the drive out of turn 15 then you’re in trouble. Tito may have extended his lead, but Mika hasn’t given up on the title yet, as I’m sure we’ll see in Japan. Jorge was unfortunate in what were tricky conditions for the Moto3 race. He was inside the top ten and going well, but just touched a wet patch on the track and crashed, as did many other riders today.”