Tito Rabat clinches the World Championship with a podium finish in Sepang
Sepang, Malaysia – 26 October 2014: Tito Rabat was crowned as the 2014 Moto2 World Champion this afternoon, after finishing on the podium in the Malaysian Moto2 Grand Prix at Sepang.
The 25-year-old Spaniard, who has led the championship since winning the opening race in Qatar back in March, only needed to finish seventh today in Malaysia to clinch the world title, but battled throughout the race with teammate Mika Kallio and eventual winner Maverick Viñales to finish third.
Rabat has dominated the Moto2 World Championship this season, winning seven races and finishing on the podium a further six times. With ten pole positions to his name in 2014 he is also the Moto2 rider with the most number of poles in a single season, a record previously held by Pol Espargaro.
The 2015 season will be the first in which the number one plate has appeared on the Moto2 grid, as Rabat will be the first champion to return and defend his crown, again with the Marc VDS Racing Team.
Mika Kallio stood alongside his Marc VDS teammate on the podium after finishing second today. The 31-year-old Finn may have seen the championship slip away from him this afternoon, but he heads to the final race in Valencia determined to secure second place in the standings, a position he currently hold with a lead of 15 points over Viñales.
Jorge Navarro equalled his best result of the season at Sepang today, bringing his Kalex-KTM home in 12th place to claim four more World Championship points.
Tito Rabat // 3rd // 2014 Moto2 World Champion
“I am so, so happy, but I have no words. In the race today I pushed hard at the start, but at the end I decided to just manage the gap back to the riders behind me, to ensure a podium finish. It has not sunk in yet that I am World Champion, so I have no words, but thank you to the team because they pushed me everyday, they helped me everyday and they were with me every step of the way. Thanks also to Marc van der Straten, without whom this would not have been possible, to my family for their support and to Circuit Almeria for their help in recent years. I want to dedicate this World Championship to my mum, because her memory motivates me to be the best I can every single day.”
Mika Kallio // 2nd
“Firstly, congratulations to Tito on the championship. The key to being champion is to be fast and consistent at every racetrack, and he did that this season. At the beginning of the season we could do the same, but we lost too much ground over the last five or six races, where we had some rear grip issues and a good rhythm was difficult to find. But the season is not over and I want to end the year with a good result at Valencia for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s important to secure second in the championship, as Maverick is now only 15 points behind me. Secondly, it’s always good to end the season with a win, as it boosts your confidence going into the winter and, probably most importantly, Valencia will be my last race for Marc VDS and I’d like to sign off after four years from the top step of the podium.”
Jorge Navarro // 12th
“Today 12th was good for me, after what was a difficult start to the weekend. We made some changes to the bike for warm up this morning and there was a big improvement, but then I decided to use the soft tyre in the race, which was maybe a mistake on my part. The tyre worked well at the start, but the rear was sliding around a lot towards the end, which knocked my confidence. But I finished the race and four points more is good for us. Now we need to continue improving at Valencia to end the season on a high.”
Michael Bartholemy // Team Principal
“Big congratulations to Tito. He is a deserving World Champion; of that there is no doubt. His hard work and commitment this year has seen him completely dominate the championship he’s led since the opening round in Qatar. Congratulations also to the team, whose commitment has easily matched that of Tito this season. Commiserations to Mika, who saw his teammate crowned champion today, but its unlikely that Tito would have been so dominant this season without a rider of Mika’s calibre to push him all the way every weekend. But Mika’s job isn’t finished yet; he’s been second in the standings all year and that’s how we want to see the season end in Valencia. Finally huge and heartfelt thanks to Marc van der Straten, without whose and support we wouldn’t be celebrating our first World Championship win today. Merci beaucoup, Marc!”
Marc van der Straten // President, Marc VDS Racing Team
“Today is a great day; for me personally, for the team and for Belgium. Seeing Tito Rabat step up to be crowned as the 2014 Moto2 World Champion is a memory that will stay with me. I am very proud of what he and the team have achieved this season. In 2010 we were the newcomers to the Moto2 paddock but our goal was very clear; to win the Moto2 World Championship. We came close in 2013 with Scott Redding, but this year we have dominated, not just with Tito, who is a worthy champion, but also with Mika, whose goal now is to secure second place at Valencia to give us a one-two in the championship, a feat that has not be accomplished by any team in the intermediate class since 2000. Well done Tito and well done team!”