Rabat Extends Lead With Victory In Barcelona

by Louis Suddaby

Esteve Rabat completed a perfect weekend in Barcelona by dominating the Catalunya Moto2 Grand Prix. The Spaniard was threatened early on by Maverick Vinales but proved too strong in the end with his victory now putting him 34 points clear of Mika Kallio in the title chase after the Finn finished fourth.

Rabat had looked the class of the field by quite a distance in free practice and qualifying but Vinales was keen to make him work as hard as possible for the race victory, passing the Marc VDS rider for the lead at the start of lap two. ‘Tito’ turned the tables on Maverick on the very next lap but knowing he had to prevent Rabat from establishing a rhythm, Vinales dived up the inside again on lap four. Continuing the pattern of position swapping, Rabat regained the lead at the start of lap five but this move would prove decisive with Vinales unable to fight back and once the slipstream was lost, so was any hope of victory. In the meantime, the Pons squad also had an injury to Luis Salom to concern themselves with after a highside at turn two.

Torres tumbles and takes out Aegerter (Photo Credit: MotoGP.com)

Torres tumbles and takes out Aegerter (Photo Credit: MotoGP.com)

Kallio’s grip on the final podium position was looking decidedly loose with Swiss pair Thomas Luthi and Dominique Aegerter chasing him down but sixth placed Jordi Torres was closing in on the three of them. With eight laps to go, Jordi had hauled himself on terms with the podium battlers but moments after climbing up to fourth, the Aspar rider lost the front end of his Suter at turn four, his machine also pushing Aegerter off track in the process.

Luthi and Kallio seemed clear to dispute third place amongst themselves but they hadn’t bargained for a hard charging Johann Zarco whose late surge had brought him into play. With the two riders ahead squabbling into turn ten on the last lap, the Frenchman ghosted past to snatch the final podium position and the first for Caterham’s Moto2 squad.

Kallio did at least beat Luthi to the line to claim fourth while Mattia Pasini rode a lonely race to sixth. Ricard Cardus and Marcel Schrotter gave Tech 3 their best result of the season in seventh and ninth respectively, either side of the impressive Axel Pons, with Anthony West completing the top ten on this QMMF Speed Up.

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