Rabat gets Moto2 title defence off to a flying start in Qatar

Rabat gets Moto2 title defence off to a flying start in Qatar

Losail, Qatar – 26 March 2015: Reigning Moto2 World Champion Tito Rabat got his title defence off to a flying start on the opening day in Qatar, ending the two free practice sessions third fastest on combined times.

Alex Marquez, making his debut in the Moto2 class here in Qatar, ended the day in 18th position, but confident that he can improve both his lap time and his position on the timesheet with more track time tomorrow.

Rabat made a solid start in the first practice session, but intermittent light rain at the start of the second and final session of the day meant that he had to wait until the final minutes of the 45-minute practice to push for a fast lap. The 25-year-old Spaniard was happy enough with his first day back at work in 2015 and is confident of further improvement in the single Moto2 session tomorrow.

A technical issue hampered Marquez at the beginning of the first session today, but his crew quickly rectified the problem and the reigning Moto3 World Champion went on to improve his lap time with every pit exit. In the second session the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider improved further, eventually finishing 18th and declaring himself happy with his Moto2 debut.

Tito Rabat: 3rd – 2’00.368
“This was a very interesting test, as the weather meant we didn’t do so many laps with this bike during preseason testing. Today we have seen many different things with the bike where we can make improvements, which is good for us. In the second session it took some time to get going, because there was spots of rain on my visor every lap, but with five minutes to go it cleared up and I was able to start building the pace, eventually putting in a very good lap time. Tomorrow we will try to make another step, focus on our job and try to go even faster.”

Alex Marquez: 18th – 2’02.076
“The team is working well and the bike felt really good today. Sure, we can improve it, but I think the biggest improvements will come from me adapting my riding style to suit better both the bike and the track. Tonight we will look through the data but, more importantly, we’ll look closely at video footage of the two sessions, to identify where we can make the biggest improvements tomorrow. Today we’re two seconds off the pace, but I’m happy because, once again, we improved step-by-step and this is how we need to continue tomorrow.”

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Today both riders made a solid start to the new season. Tito was on the pace and in the top three, but ended the final session today confident that the changes he wants to make to the set up of the bike for tomorrow will see him close the gap on the two riders ahead of him. Alex had a technical problem this morning, but it was soon rectified and he didn’t let it faze him at all. He improved with every pit exit and I’m confident we’ll see a significant step forward from him again tomorrow. So, a good start to the season, which we can build on in tomorrow’s single Moto2 session.”