Gosselies, Belgium: The Marc VDS Racing Team’s Tito Rabat and Mika Kallio are keen to repeat the success of Qatar this weekend, as they head to the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas for round two of the 2014 Moto2 World Championship.
Rabat and Kallio were involved in an intense three-way battle in the Qatar race, which they finished first and second, and the competition between the two Marc VDS riders promises to be just as fierce this weekend in Austin where, just 12 months ago, they were involved in a frantic last lap battle for second place that eventually went the way of the 24-year-old Spaniard.
Livio Loi heads to Austin to learn another new track, as he wasn’t old enough to race at the Circuit of the Americas last season. Despite facing a steep learning curve this weekend, a points scoring finish remains the aim for the 16-year-old Belgian.
“It was good to start with a win in Qatar, but that was only the first race of what promises to be a very long season. Now we need to focus on Austin, then Argentina and then each race as it comes. We need to go into every weekend with the aim of winning. Even if it’s impossible to win every race, this is what we need to fight for. The Austin track is an interesting one in terms of finding a good set up, but I’m confident my crew will find exactly what we need from the bike this weekend. I improved in every session last year, eventually finishing second in the race, and I hope we can do the same again this time around, but maybe one place better.”
“Qatar was a great way to start the season, but now we need to carry that momentum into the Austin weekend. We struggled a little with set up for the Circuit of the Americas last year, because you need to find a good compromise between stability for the four or five hard braking areas and the agility needed for fast changes in direction. We didn’t manage to find this compromise until the Saturday night last season, so we need to focus on this during the first free practice sessions on Friday. It would be great to repeat the result from Qatar, with the positions reversed of course, but I think the other riders may well have something to say about that!”
“Austin is a new track for me to learn, but then so was Qatar, so it’s not such a big issue. It’s important for me to improve my pace throughout each of the three free practice sessions this weekend, so that we’re ready for qualifying. In Qatar it was qualifying that let us down, leaving me well down the grid and unable to fight back into a points scoring position in the race. This is something we need to focus on this weekend. If I can qualify on the front four rows of the grid, then a top 15 finish is a realistic goal for me.