Record-breaker Rabat storms to Texas pole
Austin, Texas – 12 April 2014: The Marc VDS Racing Team’s Tito Rabat rode the fastest ever Moto2 lap of the spectacular Circuit of the Americas this afternoon to claim a stunning pole position that maintained the Spaniard’s perfect start to 2014.
After claiming the pole and victory double in Qatar, Rabat rode a faultless last lap of 2’10.135 this afternoon to top the qualifying timesheets by 0.266s.
His fantastic last lap, which came after his crew had calmly rectified a clutch and gearbox issue in high-pressure circumstances, secured the second successive pole position at COTA for the Marc VDS Racing Team, after Scott Redding took the first ever Moto2 pole in Texas a year ago.
Mika Kallio’s bid for a second successive COTA rostrum will start from 11th position, the Finnish rider unable to capitalise on the grip offered by fresh Dunlop tyres at the end of qualifying.
Kallio though has been one of the strongest performers on worn tyres all weekend, and he remains confident that he can follow up his second position in Qatar with another strong challenge for the top three in tomorrow’s 19-lap encounter.
Livio Loi was far from satisfied with his feeling on the Kalex-KTM package in a difficult Moto3 qualifying session.
A lack of rear grip on acceleration meant Loi was unable to match his promising practice pace, and a fastest lap of 2.19.014 will see him make his COTA debut from 24th position on the grid.
Tito Rabat // Pole Position // 2’10.135
“I am really happy to be back on pole position because that qualifying session was very difficult at times. All weekend we have had a problem with the gearbox and downshifting to first gear. That becomes a big issue at this track where there are five first gear corners. In qualifying my team did an unbelievable job to find a solution and I don’t think many in the paddock could do that. My last lap was fantastic and I am confident for the race. It is going to be a tough race with so many riders fast but it would be great to get another victory to follow up from Qatar.”
Mika Kallio // 11th // 2’10.945
“Unfortunately I had a similar problem today that I had many times in qualifying last season. At the start when most riders are out on used tyres, I am one of the fastest and in the top three. But at the end when everybody is switching to fresh rubber, I can’t feel the benefit and the lap time is worse. It happened this morning too when I was faster on tyres with more than 30 laps on them than I was on a new tyre. It is hard to explain but the bike behaves completely different. It makes it very difficult for the race to start 11th but last year I started ninth and still fought back to take a podium, so with a good start anything is possible.”
Livio Loi // 24th // 2’19.014
“The qualifying session was very bad for me and I am not happy at all. The feeling wasn’t good on the bike and the lap time wouldn’t come. I felt like I was pushing really hard and doing everything to make a lap time but I couldn’t go quicker than in practice. Each time I tried to push hard out of a corner I’d lose the rear and have a big moment. I also had some movement on the front but obviously part of the problem is me and I need to sit down with my team tonight and find something for tomorrow, because it will be a very difficult race from 24th on the grid.”
Michael Bartholemy // Team Principal
“Tito did a fantastic job because we had an issue with downshifting and it was getting quite stressful at one stage in the garage. But his crew showed great skill and professionalism to solve the issue and I am so happy he could make that last lap. It is the second time at this track and the second time a Marc VDS rider has taken pole, so we can go into the race confident that Tito will be battling for the win. With Mika we expected a little bit more and I thought he’d at least be on the second row. We know how strong he is on worn tyres and I fully expect to see him in the battle inside the top six. It was disappointing for Livio and absolutely not what I expected from him. This year we have to be fighting consistently for the points and we are far away from that at this track. Hopefully he can be strong in the race and show more of his potential.”