19 March 2015
Moto2: Rabat writes off bike, but ‘wet now a strength’
“I've turned what was a weakness in my armoury into a strength. Now I know I am fast in the dry and the wet” - Esteve Rabat.
Moto2 world champion Esteve Rabat escaped with cuts and bruises from a big turn four accident on the final day of pre-season testing at Jerez.
The Spaniard's Estrella Galicia Marc VDS Kalex was 'damaged beyond repair' in the incident, which marked the end of his 120 wet laps. However Rabat insists that his previous wet weather weakness has now been overcome.
Rabat, who set the seventh fastest lap time during the brief period of slick-tyre running on day two, declared:
“I know many riders were not so happy with three days of rain here in Jerez, but for me the conditions were perfect. To race in the rain you need to test in the rain, and we certainly got plenty of chances to do that this week!
“On the first day the feeling wasn't so good, but the second day was a little bit better and today we made a big step forward in what were definitely the wettest conditions of the three days. Instead of being two or three seconds behind the riders who are always fast in the wet, now I'm much closer and, in many cases, faster.
“So, overall, I'm happy with what we've achieved during this test, despite the crash today. I've turned what was a weakness in my armoury into a strength. Now I know I am fast in the dry and the wet.”
But rookie team-mate Alex Marquez wasn't happy with the conditions. The reigning Moto3 World Champion needed dry track time to continue his familiarisation with the Kalex Moto2 machine he'll campaign this season, but the inclement weather meant that the 18-year-old Spaniard completed only 31 laps over the course of the three days.
“The weather here in Jerez couldn't have been worse for us,” said Marquez, who was 19th fastest. “For the first two days the track was neither wet nor dry and the only time it was even close to fully dry the session was red flagged. In those conditions you learn little, but you risk a lot, so it just wasn't worth taking the chance with us being so close to the first race in Qatar.
“Today was completely wet, but it's not wet track time I need. I need track time in the dry as I adapt to the Moto2 bike and this has been in short supply during all three preseason tests. It's not the ideal preparation for my Moto2 debut, but it's been the same for everyone, so we'll all be in the same situation when we get to Qatar next week.”
Team principal Michael Bartholemy added: “If Tito had a weakness last season then it was his performance in the wet, but I think the rain holds no fear for him anymore. This year he's had the chance to master the conditions, as rain has been the only constant at all three of the preseason tests in Valencia and Jerez.
“But, while the conditions have been good for Tito, the opposite is true for Alex, who needed as much dry track time as possible as he makes the transition from Moto3 to Moto2. I know these past three days have been frustrating for him, but he is mature beyond his years and hasn't let the lack of track time faze him at all.
“We now head to Qatar with one rider looking to start his title defence with a race win and the other determined to mark his Moto2 debut with a strong showing. I am confident that both are more than capable of achieving their respective goals!”
Opening practice for the Qatar Grand Prix takes place next Thursday.
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