Assen, Holland – 28 June 2014: Mika Kallio mastered the most treacherous conditions encountered so far this season today, to claim a well deserved third place finish in the Moto2 Dutch TT. Tito Rabat rode intelligently to finish eighth, in a race that saw many crashes as riders fell foul of the changing track conditions.
Heavy rain ahead of the race saw the start of the Moto2 Dutch TT delayed for 20 minutes, with the riders eventually starting on wet tyres, as there was standing water on some parts of the circuit, despite the sun and wind conspiring to dry the track rapidly.
Kallio almost fell victim to a highside in the early stages of the race, but managed to gather the bike up and re-join the race after a brief off track excursion. Although he struggled for grip on a fully wet track, when a dry line appeared at half race distance the 31-year-old Finn forced his way through the field to join the battle for the race lead. In the end he was unable to mount a challenge on eventual race winner, Anthony West, and was forced to settle for third place at the chequered flag.
Rabat’s race got off to an even worse start when he crashed on a damp patch at turn eight on his way to the grid. The 25-year-old Spaniard managed to get his Kalex Moto2 machine back to the pit box, where his mechanics took advantage of the delayed start to make running repairs.
In the fully wet conditions at the start of the race Rabat, who started from pole position, was looking strong, but as the track dried he started to lose the feeling with the bike and, with riders crashing all around him, opted to play it safe and take the points for eighth place.
Livio Loi endured a difficult first race aboard his KTM RC250R at Assen today, as a result of making changes to the bike after qualifying yesterday. The 17-year-old Belgian opted to run on wet tyres in warm up and was unable to test the changes, which turned out to be a step in the wrong direction during the race, which he finished in 25th position.
Mika Kallio // 3rd
“At the start, when the track was completely wet, my feeling with the bike wasn’t good. I didn’t have any grip, but I knew from the part wet practice session in Mugello that, as soon as the track started to dry, the feeling would be better. I nearly didn’t find out, as I almost highsided myself out of the race in the fully wet conditions, but as a dry line started to appear I was able to push much harder and eventually catch the two guys at the front of the race. In the end my lap times were getting quicker, but the same was true of West and Viñales, so I couldn’t find a way past. It’s good to be on the podium, and it means I’ve closed the gap slightly on Tito in the championship, but now we’re starting to see other riders coming strong, like Viñales, so it’s not just Tito I need to keep an eye on. I’m happy with the podium today, as it could have been a very different story in such tricky conditions.”
Tito Rabat // 8th
“I made a pretty good start and I was competitive in the first part of the race. In the rain I had a good feeling with the bike and I was able to push, which was good for me. But later, when a dry line started to appear, it was really difficult for me to keep the line and to match the speed of the other riders. From that point I just tried to do my best and pick up as many points as I could. The crash as I went to the grid for the first time caused some damage to the bike, but the team did a great job to get it fixed and ready for the race, so many thanks to them.”
Livio Loi // 25th
“We made some changes to the bike after qualifying and, unfortunately, as we were on wet tyres for this morning’s warm up, the first time we got to test the changes was in the race. They didn’t work. Instead of an improvement they actually made the bike more difficult to ride and the rear was coming up on me every time on the brakes, and then sliding away from me in the corners. I’m disappointed, obviously, but now I need to focus on the next race at the Sachsenring. The plan for Germany is to use the original settings from yesterday as a starting point and work from there. Hopefully we’ll be able to make further progress with more time on the bike and push for a better result in the final race before the summer break.”
Michael Bartholemy // Team Principal
“Today’s race was run in the worse conditions imaginable. We had to start on wet tyres, but it was obvious that the track was going to dry out very quickly, which is exactly what happened. Mika rode a clever race; holding off in the wet conditions when he was struggling for grip and then pushing hard once a dry line appeared and his feeling with the bike was better. He did a good job, as did Tito, who rode a solid race to pick up more points with eighth position, in conditions we know don’t suit him. I’d also like to say a big thank you to the team, who did a great job getting Tito’s bike back together so that he could take his place on the grid for the delayed start. Livio will be disappointed with his result today, mainly because the change to the KTM hasn’t worked the miracle he maybe expected. The bike won’t do the job for him; he needs to work and he needs to improve significantly in the next race at Sachsenring. He knows what we expect, and now he needs to deliver.”