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Feb 7, 2014

Marc VDS Riders Looking Forward To Beginning Pre-Season Testing

Tito Rabat (53).

Marc VDS head to Valencia to get 2014 campaign underway

Gosselies, Belgium – 7 February 2014: The Marc VDS Racing Team will get their 2014 campaign underway at Valencia on Tuesday 11th February, with the first of three pre-season tests for the Moto2 and Moto3 classes. All three of the team’s riders – Mika Kallio, Tito Rabat and Livio Loi – are raring to go after the three-month winter break.

Kallio spent the break at home in Finland, with a trip to Lapland to see in the New Year, but he didn’t let the notorious Finnish winter weather stop him racing. A former national ice racing champion, Kallio continues to race whenever he’s home in the winter, but this year he also took to the snow and ice in his four-wheeled, Suzuki GSXR750 powered Cross Kart. The 31-year-old is looking forward to returning to the track in Valencia aboard his Kalex Moto2 bike, without the need for spiked tyres!

Rabat has also kept himself sharp by racing on both two wheels and four over the winter break. The 24-year-old Spaniard contested the GSeries BPA race alongside Bradley Smith in Andorra, as well as finishing second behind Brad ‘The Bullet’ Baker in the Superfinal at the Superprestigio Dirt Track event in Barcelona. Rabat finished third in the Moto2 World Championship in 2013 and, with the two riders above him moving up to MotoGP, will start the season as one of the title favourites.

Loi experienced a difficult debut in the Moto3 World Championship last year, but battled his way into the points on four occasions during the season. This year the 16-year-old Belgian has clear targets for the year ahead, with top 15 finishes in both races and the Championship the goal set by the team.

Mika Kallio:

“The winter break has been spent at home in Finland. Most years I would have been out on the ice-racing bike, but winter came late this year, so it’s not been possible and most of my training has been confined to the gym. It means I’m 100% motivated to get back on the Moto2 bike in Valencia, probably more motivated than ever before. I know people are talking about Tito and myself in terms of the championship title this season, but I don’t feel any pressure. We know what we have to work with, because the 2014 Kalex is not so different to the 2013 bike. We know what we need to improve compared to last year; most important is to find a good compromise between rear grip and tyre longevity, but we have some idea how to accomplish this.”

Tito Rabat:

“I kept myself busy over the winter, with motocross, dirt track and even a car race on ice up in Andorra, but I also took some time out to relax after a busy season. The car racing was fun; you had to be really smooth on the ice. The dirt track racing was also fun, but very different. It’s a really explosive sport, with lots of sliding and contact; you’re at the maximum from the start to the finish. I enjoyed it a lot. Now it’s time to get back into the rhythm of the season and I’m looking forward to working with the guys in my crew again. The aim in testing is to ensure we have the most competitive package for the first race in Qatar, not to try to win testing with the fastest lap, but if we get the set up right then we know the the lap times will come.”

Livio Loi:

“It seems a long time since I last rode the Moto3 bike, but I’ve been riding almost everyday over the winter break. After a few weeks motocross training in England before Christmas I headed over to the Texas Tornado Boot Camp for two weeks. There I was on the bike for four or five hours a day and learnt a lot about machine control and throttle control, although for the first few days it was difficult to sit down! Now I’m looking forward to getting back on the Moto3 bike. I’m better prepared than ever and I have been set clear targets for the new season. Meeting those targets starts next week at Valencia. I can’t wait!”

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal

“With Tito finishing third and Mika fourth in the Championship last year, both riders go into the new season with the weight of expectation on their shoulders. But this expectation hasn’t changed their approach and it hasn’t changed that of the team, either. We head to the first two tests in Spain with clear goals, as well as a determination not to get drawn into the battle for bragging rights that a fast lap brings. We need to be fast from the first race onwards and so we will use testing as it was intended, to ensure that we arrive in Qatar with the most competitive package. Livio heads into his second season with the team, after a learning year in 2013. He also has clear goals this time around, and he understands fully that these goals are set in stone and not in anyway flexible. I am confident, however, that he will rise to the challenge.”

2014 Test Schedule

11-13 February Valencia, Spain

18-20 February Jerez, Spain

03-05 March Phillip Island, Australia (Moto2 only)

11-13 March Jerez, Spain (Moto3 only)