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Moto2 Australia: Record breaking performance hands Rabat pole

Esteve 'Tito' Rabat took pole position in Saturday's qualifying session for the Australian Moto2 Grand Prix, setting a new class record.
Tito Rabat dominated the Australian Moto2 Grand Prix qualifying session at Phillip Island, an earlier rain shower having no effect on the determined Spaniard on his way to his ninth pole this season, a new record after going one better than Pol Espargaro in 2012.

The Marc VDS rider also set a new circuit record of 1m 32.470 to really stamp his authority on the session, bettering Pol Espargaro's old best from year, which had been set using softer compound tyres.

With every Moto2 race at the Island having been won from pole it marks a great chance for Rabat to seal the world championship title, with a twelve point increase over Mika Kallio enough to crown the Spaniard this weekend.

The Kalex rider chalked up an impressive 27 laps to achieve this, a total only bettered by his team-mate Kallio, who completed one more lap in his quest to remain in the title hunt.

It was to be Johann Zarco who came closest to catching Rabat, splitting the team-mates with his AirAsia Caterham Suter with his fastest trip around the circuit falling just 0.015 short, keeping Kallio in third to complete the front row.

Maverick Vinales took some time to find a pace to match the leaders and after being as low as 17th. A late dash propelled the Paginas Amarillas HP 40 rider to fourth.

Fifth went to Tom Luthi in very different circumstances as a time set on just the Swiss riders tenth lap was good enough to hold on for his Interwetten team.

Sandro Cortese completes row two for Dynavolt Intact GP in sixth.

Sam Lowes ran over to apologise to Thitipong Warokorn after the two collided in the closing stages, the Briton had already done enough to secure seventh.

Jordi Torres starts eighth for Mapfre Aspar, with Xavier Simeon securing ninth for Federal Oil Gresini.

Just four thousandths behind his time was Marcel Schrotter, one place ahead of his Tech 3 team-mate Ricky Cardus for a top ten start, beating his time by the same tiny margin.

All the times were tight with the entire top twenty within a second of Rabat's record breaking effort.

Franco Morbidelli took his Italtrans for a quick spin through the grass in a session low on accidents before qualifying 12th.

British rider Gino Rea starts 27th for AGT Rea Racing.

Marc VDS are a three-man team for the weekend after handing a wild-card ride to Aiden Wagner, who took 31st on the grid.

Tasca Racing have opted to use local rider Max Croker at the Island, who qualified 34th.
by Lisa Lewis

Tagged as: moto2 , Rabat

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