Rabat Wins Tight Qualifying Battle In Malaysia


Esteve Rabat sent out another warning that he may yet challenge for the Moto2 title by claiming pole position at Sepang, edging out Thomas Luthi by two hundredths of a second. The Spaniard trails Scott Redding by 44 points but with the championship leader having another poor qualifying session, finishing down in tenth, Rabat could well make inroads tomorrow.

As the practice form had suggested, the battle for pole position boiled down to a straight fight between Rabat and Luthi and the Swiss rider struck first, setting a 2:07.534 on his first flying lap. Rabat responded immediately with a 2:07.404 but Luthi regained provisional pole with twenty minutes remaining, pulling out a three tenth lead over the Pons rider.

After his free practice dominance, Rabat would not be denied though and with twelve minutes of the session remaining, Esteve delivered a 2:07.063 to sneak in front of Luthi by 0.018s, clinching his second career pole in the intermediate class. Pol Espargaro’s performance was the subject of much attention in light of Scott Redding’s struggles and the Spaniard dragged his Kalex onto the front row five minutes from the end, knocking Johann Zarco down to fourth.

Mika Kallio is the leading Marc VDS rider on the grid in fifth with Takaaki Nakagami sixth after a crash at the final corner which ended his pole position challenge before it had begun. 2012 Sepang winner Alex De Angelis will start seventh ahead of Xavier Simeon and Jordi Torres with Scott Redding rounding out the top ten after failing to go quicker than a 2:07.980. However, given his charge through the field at Aragon, the Briton will still expect to challenge tomorrow.

Danny Kent will start sixteenth for Tech 3 with Gino Rea 25th on his debut for the Arguiñano & Gines squad, standing in for the injured Alberto Moncayo.