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Moto2 Valencia: Rabat returns to dominate for pole

Tito Rabat secured pole position as he returned from injury in Saturday's Moto2 qualifying session for the Valencia Grand Prix.
A fast start to Moto2 qualifying for the Valencia Grand Prix turned into a masterclass in riding the Ricardo Tormo track from Tito Rabat.

Having moved into provisional pole with 24 minutes remaining the EG 0,0 Marc VDS man was the only rider capable of beating his own best, taking the top slot on the grid with a speedy 1m 35.234 in his final Moto2 qualifying before a move to MotoGP.

Rabat, who was also on pole in Valencia last season, still has a lot to focus on as despite his absence a second place in the championship is still possible.

Before Rabat's big comeback push Johann Zarco had been holding pole, battling for position with Tom Luthi. The new Moto2 champion benefited as his early pace remained good enough for second.

The Ajo Motorsport man can still set some new goals with a good performance to end his championship winning year, with points and podium records up for grabs in Sunday's race.

The front row is completed by Moto2 rookie of the year, Alex Rins who will be doing all he can to hold of Rabat in the title standings aboard his Paginas Amarillas HP40 bike.

With so many of their machines at the front of the grid, Kalex looked assured of a win at the only track where they are yet to taste victory. Tom Luthi, the man who denied them last year as a Suter rider, lines up fourth on a Kalex for Derendinder Racing Interwetten after being in early contention for pole.

Lorenzo Baldassarri starts from fifth for Forward Racing with row two completed by Julian Simon for Italtrans courtesy of an early lap which originally pushed him up to third and held on well in the standings.

Axel Pons had managed a lap good enough for seventh before he fell from his AGR Team bike, with Taka Nakagami fighting his way up to eighth for Idemitsu Honda Team Asia.

Ninth went to the second Forward Racing entry, piloted by Simone Corsi, with Sam Lowes completing the top ten.

The British Speed Up rider fell early and his wait in the pits as the mechanics frantically fixed his bike significantly limited his time on track. On his return some solid laps saw him improve back to tenth, where he had been left after his fall.

Lucas Mahias (Promoto Sport Transfiormers) and Federico Fuligni (Ciatti Suter) appear again as wild-cards. Mahias managed a very impressive 16th place start, Fuligni qualified 29th.

Joining Lowes in a trip through the gravel the gravel were Alex Marquez and Xavier Simeon. Both returned to the pits for another stab at improving their place. Robin Mulhauser was next to exit with Axel Pons the last to fall as the clock hit zero.

Azlan Shah was ruled out of the weekend's action with a wound and fracture to his right hand as both he and Louis Rossi took evasive action as Axel Pons' crashing AGR bike tumbled in front of them in the final practice session. Rossi was also absent from qualifying.

Dominique Aegerter also plays no further part after attempting a comeback for the final round of the season he withdrew following FP2 to concentrate on his recovery. Josh Hook was allowed to substitute and finished 30th.

by Lisa Lewis

Tagged as: moto2 , Rabat

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