Rabat storms to third straight pole in Argentina
Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina – 26 April 2014: A stunning late attack from Tito Rabat saw the Marc VDS Racing rider claim the first ever Moto2 pole position at the new Circuito Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina this afternoon.
A breathless lap of 1.43.961 kept the Spaniard’s 100% pole position record intact in 2014 at the end of a super close qualifying session that saw the top three split by just 0.077s.
Mika Kallio will start his 200th World Championship race from 14th on the grid, the Finn qualifying just under 0.4s from the top six on a day where he struggled for optimum grip on the abrasive new surface.
Livio Loi had a day to remember in South America, the Belgian teenager following up an outstanding fifth position in practice to secure a magnificent career best ninth position on the grid.
Loi’s best lap of 1.49.918 was just over 0.3s off the front row and gives him a golden opportunity to celebrate his 17th birthday tomorrow with a maiden top 10 finish in Moto3.
Tito Rabat // 1st // 1’43.961
“It has not been an easy weekend with the difficult track conditions, so I am very happy to be in pole position again. On the first day I had problems with rear grip and today problems with the front and it is very difficult to understand the grip because the track is changing constantly. We found a good solution and I made a very good lap time, but the most important thing is the race tomorrow. Many riders are very close and it will be key to make a good start and then a lot will depend on who can save the tyres the best for the final laps.”
Mika Kallio // 14th // 1’44.715
“I can’t be happy because 14th certainly isn’t a true reflection of my speed. I used the soft option tyres at the start of the session but then I had no more because this track is so aggressive for tyre wear that we’ve had to use a lot of tyres already. At the end I had to finish on the hard front and rear because I need to keep a soft option for tomorrow in case we decide that’s what we will race with. We’ve got a lot of information now with the hard tyres and I think for the rear we will have to use that one for the best performance over a race distance. The starting position isn’t good but my race pace is strong and if I can be cool at the start then anything is still possible.”
Livio Loi // 9th //1’49.969
“I am really happy to have scored my best ever qualifying result, but I don’t think ninth showed my true potential. I was really confident after the fifth position in FP3 and I am sure I could have been higher up the grid. But on one of my best laps I was 0.2s up on the best time in the first two sectors when Karel Hanika crashed right in front of me, so I had to pick the bike up. That would have been a very good lap and I am sure I could have been in the top five. I’ve got the speed and consistency and starting ninth gives me a great chance to get away with the leading group, so I’m looking forward to a really strong race.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“I am really happy with Tito because honestly I didn’t expect him to get pole position. Three consecutive pole positions is a first for Marc VDS Racing and it is a great achievement. It has not been an easy weekend for everybody with track conditions constantly changing. Sometimes you have no grip on the rear and when you solve it you have no grip on the front, but Tito and his crew worked incredibly hard to get the best balance for qualifying. Mika has had a difficult weekend and we have not found the best solution on the set-up for him. Hopefully we can find something he is more comfortable with for the race because normally the starting position is not a big issue for him and he can come through and fight for the podium. Livio has had a great weekend so far. He has always been competitive and he has been setting a fast and consistent pace on his own with no help to make his times. On his last lap he had to slow when Hanika crashed in front of him, and without that I think it was possible to see Livio on the front row. If he makes a good start tomorrow I think he can go with the leading group and that will be fantastic experience for him.”