Rabat off to flying start in France
Le Mans, France – 15 May 2015: Team Estrella Galicia Marc VDS rider Tito Rabat made a stunning start to the French Grand Prix by setting the fastest pace in both Moto2 practice sessions at the legendary Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans.
Rabat delivered a phenomenal display of speed and consistency to top the timesheets with a best lap of 1.37.625, which was less than 0.1s outside of the outright Moto2 record at the 2.600 miles track.
The most impressive aspect of Rabat’s masterful performance was his quickest pace was set on worn tyres, which had completed just three laps short of the full 27-lap race distance.
Rabat returned to a strategy of running a full race distance in both sessions without entering the pits once, which became his trademark on his way to clinching the 2014 Moto2 title. And it was a tactic that reaped instant rewards for the 25-year-old, who saw only two other riders able to lap within 0.3s of his best pace.
It was a more challenging start to the fifth round of the 2015 campaign for Alex Marquez, even though he improved his FP1 pace by close to 0.8s this afternoon.
The 19-year-old has struggled to find a good feeling with his Kalex machine and he finished 24th fastest with a best lap of 1.39.485 after escaping unhurt in a late crash at turn five.
Tito Rabat 1st – 1’37.625
“We have to keep our feet on the ground because it is only Friday, but today we made a very good job. The bike is working very well and I decided to follow the strategy of last season when I went out at the start of the session and didn’t come back into the pits. And it worked because I was very fast and close to the fastest ever Moto2 lap in Le Mans, but I gained a lot of very important data for the race. I am confident but we will work to improve to be strong for the remainder of the weekend.”
Alex Marquez 24th – 1.39.485
“I am not happy because I experienced a lot of problems and we need to change the bike a lot. I also need to continue to work on my riding style to try and find the limit. I didn’t enjoy today and it was the worst day for me so far in Moto2 and we need to improve. We have many problems but I don’t feel the limit with the bike and this is the most difficult issue. I crashed at the end of FP2 in turn five but fortunately I am unhurt and we can try and be more competitive tomorrow.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Today was a really good day for Tito and he showed the kind of form that took him to the World Championship last season. He was first in this morning’s practice and quickest again in FP2, but it his consistency that is also very impressive. I think slowly he is returning to the level and confidence that he had last season, and that bodes well for a strong challenge in Sunday’s race. We knew this would be a difficult track for Alex but we are a little bit further back than I anticipated. We need to work hard to give him a bike that allows him to push with more trust and confidence.”