Esteve Rabat stands on the verge of the Moto2 world championship after taking pole position at Sepang. The Spaniard requires seventh place or better in tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix to be crowned champion and will start from the front with title rival Mika Kallio joining him on the front row for a race the Finn simply must win.
With the temperatures continuing to soar late into the afternoon in Kuala Lumpur, the riders found improvements hard to come by and Rabat’s third lap of the session proved good enough for pole. Tito clocked a 2:07.429 to outpace Kallio by 0.158s and despite the history looming on race day, he is planning to treat the race as any other.
“Today I had a good feeling on the bike, both with a full fuel load and later in the session with less weight. My rhythm was also good from the start, but maybe I worked a little bit too hard today, with too much stopping and starting. I also came across too many riders on track, which meant I wasn’t able to improve my lap time further. The race will be hard tomorrow, not just because of the conditions but also because all the riders are so close on time. Like always, I will focus only on the race tomorrow, not the championship. I will try to make a good start and then fight at the front, hopefully for the win.”
Sandro Cortese will start from the front row at the circuit which saw him crowned Moto3 champion two years ago while the reigning lightweight champion Maverick Vinales heads row two. Thomas Luthi will start fifth ahead of a rejuvenated Takaaki Nakagami while Julian Simon, Johann Zarco and Dominique Aegerter will make up the third row.