23 March 2014
Qatar Moto2: Rabat holds off Nakagami for victory
Esteve 'Tito' Rabat fought hard to take victory after a frantic finish to the Moto2 Qatar Grand Prix in Losail, the season opener...
UPDATE: Takaaki Nakagami later disqualified "for the use of a non-regulation air filter."
Tito Rabat claimed a photo-finish victory on his Marc VDS debut in the season-opening Qatar Moto2 Grand Prix.
The Spaniard held off Takaaki Nakagami by just 0.040s, with team-mate Mika Kallio one-second from victory under the Losail floodlights.
Pre-season favourite Rabat recovered after being beaten up on the opening lap to take his third win, winning every race he has started from the top position on the grid.
A swift recovery saw the Spaniard ultimately fend off new Idemitsu Honda Team Asia rider Nakagami, who was forced to settle for his fifth runner-up finish in grand prix.
Kallio, with a Petronas team donated Kalex chassis on his Marc VDS machine after his crash into Cortese's bike in qualifying, completed the all-Kalex podium.
Tom Luthi fell back during the race after a positive start but recovered to finish fourth for Interwetten and top Suter rider.
Fifth went to Maverick Vinales, the 2013 Moto3 champion, making the Pons rider the top rookie. He also posted a new fastest lap on his Pons HP 40 bike, taking the record from Marc Marquez.
Simone Corsi was sixth for NGM Forward KLX racing after being caught and passed by Vinales late in the race.
Briton Sam Lowes enjoyed a strong grand prix debut, the Moto2 rookie and reigning World Supersport champion finishing seventh for Speed Up, their top finisher.
Aspar's Jordi Torres, hurting from his qualifying crash with Sandro Cortese had to deal with the German rider again in the race.
The Dynavolt Intact GP racer on painkillers after his the crash left him with an swollen, damaged ankle won out in eighth, with Torres settling for ninth.
Ant West secured a top ten finish for the Qatar based QMMF Racing Team.
The remaining points went to Louis Rossi at SAG Team in eleventh with Jonas Folger for AGR Team taking twelfth.
Ricky Cardus, replacing injured Alex Marinelarena, impressed in 13th finishing ahead of IodaRacing Project rider Randy Krummenacher in 14th with the final point going to Luis Salom after making up places on the final lap on his Moto2 debut for Pons HP 40.
Dominique Aegerter failed to match the record for most consecutive finishes after his Technomag bike had an engine failure, resulting in his smoking bike being black-flagged.
Aspar also saw Nico Terol retiring when his bike failed.
The middle of the pack imploded on lap one in a huge crash, taking out Caterham's Josh Herrin an Johann Zarco, Tasca Racing rider Alex De Angelis and Gresini rider Xavier Simeon.
Al Naimi and Gino Rea also retired, the Londoner pulling into the pits with an oil leak with 17 laps to go. Tech3 rider Marcel Schrotter crashed out with 8 laps remaining.
Also not classified were Axel Pons and Lorenzo Baldassarri who crashed in the closing stages.
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