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Mar 3, 2014

Interview: Marc VDS Racing's "Tito" Rabat

"Tito" Rabat (53).

Phillip Island, Australia – 3 March 2014: We caught up with Tito Rabat ahead of the Phillip Island tyre test to find out his thoughts on testing so far, as well as his expectations for the season ahead.

After a career spent with Spanish teams you've now moved across to Marc VDS, a Belgian team. How big a change has that been for you?

This is my first time in a non-Spanish team and, at the beginning, I was a little bit worried about the communication with the technical staff, but after the first test I was more relaxed because the communication wasn't really an issue.

I'm very happy with the new team; we make very good preseason tests and now, we look to start the season how we want.

How have you prepared for the new season?

Over the winter I've made a lot of things; bicycle, gym, running, motorbike, motocross, dirt track and road biking in Almeria. Sometimes it was for fun and sometimes for work. I made also many races on bikes and, for the first time, in a car. I raced in the GSeries BPA event in Andorra and this was my first experience driving on ice, which was good fun.

You took part in the Superprestigio Dirt Track event in Barcelona, and finished as the top GP rider. How was that for an experience?

The dirt track racing was also very funny; it's an explosive style of racing. You need to just go from the start and push for the whole eight laps to the end. Great fun, but it was also really good for training.

You were fastest in Valencia and second quickest in Jerez, by only a narrow margin. To be so fast, so early must give you some confidence going into the new season?

Yes, I've been quick in testing so far, but you can't take too much confidence from testing results, because this is Moto2. Every day you must fight, because everyone has the same engine, the same tyres, mostly the same suspension and the frames – Kalex, Suter and Spped-Up – are all competitive.

The rider really makes a difference in Moto2. I feel good and I feel strong, but I think we need to work every single day of this year if we want to win and, of course, we want to win.

You're a rider who is never happy, even when you're topping the timesheets. After the first two preseason tests of 2014, where is your focus in terms of improving the bike further?

We need to find a good base, so that we arrive at each track and the bike is already fast. This is where we need to focus right now. If we can find this base set up then it will make our work much easier this season.

Last year it looked at times like you were feeling the pressure fighting for the championship. What about this year, do you feel any additional pressure going into the new season as one of the main title favourites?

Last year I made some mistakes at the end of the season, but not as a result of pressure, more as a result of circumstances. Here in Phillip Island I made a mistake, but then I also made a mistake earlier in the season in Le Mans.

Japan was very strange, with no practice and qualifying and just the warm up ahead of the race. At the start many riders were there that aren't normally around me and I wanted to pass them as quickly as possible. I made a mistake and crashed but, thankfully, with no injuries for me or the others involved.

When it comes to pressure, nobody puts more pressure on me than I do myself. I want to win. I want to enjoy the races also, but more than anything I want to win.

This year I am better than last year and I want to start well in Qatar, ride to the best of my ability and I'm sure the results will come.

Which riders do you see as your biggest rivals for the championship this season?

There are a lot this season. Tom Lüthi, Mika Kallio, Jordi Torres, Nico Terol, Takaaki Nakagami and Maverick Viñales to name just a few. But if we're going to do the job this season then I need to focus not on what they are doing, but on what I am doing.

It's going to be a close battle in 2014, as always, but what is your main strength going into the new season?

I don't tell you. This is my secret!