Rabat returns in style in Valencia
Valencia, Spain – 6 November 2015: Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Tito Rabat made a stunning return to Moto2 action today by setting the third quickest time in gloriously sunny conditions at the Ricardo Tormo track in Valencia.
After withdrawing from the recent Japanese and Australian rounds and missing the previous race in Malaysia with a left arm injury, the 26-year-old showed he’s back to full fitness and his best form to finish third behind Thomas Luthi and Sam Lowes.
Rabat quickly found a competitive rhythm in this morning’s FP1 to finish fifth quickest, and he improved by 0.3s to climb up two places in the standings in this afternoon’s second session.
Eleventh place on the combined timesheets didn’t reflect a positive first day on track for Álex Márquez. The 19-year-old, who clinched last year’s Moto3 title in Valencia one year ago, improved by close to 0.8s in FP2.
But as he pushed to further lower his lap time in pursuit of a top six placing, he fell heavily in the closing stages while experimenting with a different line through turn 12.
Tito Rabat: 3rd – 1’35.834
“I am really happy with how today went because it has been a frustrating period watching the last three races from outside of the track. I was confident that my arm was going to be strong today and I’m happy to confirm the positive feeling I had before I stepped on the bike. I’m here just to do my best and enjoy my last race in Moto2 in front of my home crowd and today was the best start I could have made. The pace will improve but I think I have a good chance of heading to MotoGP with a podium to celebrate.”
Álex Márquez: 11th – 1'36.376
“This morning we had a different strategy to the rest and we opted to save tyres for the second session. The gap between the hard and soft tyres is really big and it takes time to adjust. With the hard I don’t feel too bad but I can improve. When we put the soft tyre in at the end I could improve my pace but it changes the feeling of the bike quite a lot. I’m fast in the first and last sectors but need to improve in T2 and T3 to be even more competitive, so we will focus on that tonight. The crash was my mistake because I was trying a different line into turn 12 and I lost the front when touching the kerb on the inside, so I apologise to my crew.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“It was great to see Tito back on track after his recent injury lay-off and most satisfying was to see him back and riding at the top level again. He worked a lot on used tyres and that gives us great confidence for Sunday’s race, because Luthi definitely used a new tyre to set his fastest lap. I think we could have seen Tito and Alex both inside the top six and that would have been a great way to start the last race. Álex was looking very strong before his big crash and I am happy with his performance today. Thankfully he wasn’t injured in the fall and he will be able to show his pace again tomorrow.”