Gosselies, Belgium: Moto2 World Championship leader, Tito Rabat, heads to Barcelona determined to continue the run of form that has seen him win three of the six races so far this season.
At the Montmeló circuit this weekend the 25-year-old Spaniard will be racing in front of his home crowd for the second time this season, but the Marc VDS rider remains unfazed by the added pressures a home race normally brings.
Rabat was second in last year’s Grand Prix of Catalunya but after the win last time out in Mugello, his third of the season, and a positive post race test at the Italian circuit, the Barcelona resident heads home this time with his sights set firmly on the top step of the podium.
One rider determined to upstage Rabat in front of his home crowd is his Marc VDS teammate, Mika Kallio. The 31-year-old Finn has two wins to his name already, but had a difficult race to sixth in Mugello last time out. Kallio heads to Barcelona with renewed confidence, however, after a positive one-day test immediately after the Italian Grand Prix.
After a run of disappointing results Livio Loi is keen to get his season back on track this weekend, at a circuit at which he was strong last year. The 17-year-old Belgian rider also participated in the Mugello post race test and is hopeful that the set up work done there on his Kalex-KTM Moto3 machine will pay dividends this weekend in Barcelona.
“This is my home race and I want to win it. My time since the Mugello race has been spent preparing for this weekend, to ensure I arrive in Barcelona completely prepared and at the top of my game. People always ask if a home race adds more pressure, but more pressure than I already put on myself for every race it’s not possible to have. Home race or not, we’ll approach this weekend in the same way we approach every weekend.”
“The test at Mugello was important, because I had some issues with the front of the bike during the race weekend and we managed to make improvements in this area during the test. In the past we’ve run almost the same settings at Catalunya as at Mugello. Now my confidence in the front is better, but in order to challenge the guys at the front we need to find a little bit more in Barcelona. We have some ideas, but rain during the test meant we weren’t able to try everything. To continue the championship battle with Tito I need a better result than Mugello. This weekend we need to improve and I need to keep my teammate behind me.”
“Last season we had similar problems with the bike, but the big difference with the race in Barcelona was that we tested there beforehand. This made a big difference when we went to the track to race, because we pretty much had the set up right from the start. This year we go there without the benefit of a test at the circuit, but I head to Spain with a positive feeling after a successful test in Mugello after the race. I like the track very much and I think I can be fast there. We need to see how we go in the first practice, but I hope I’ll be able to do a good result this weekend.”