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Tito Rabat developed into a ruthless race winner and the World Champion of the intermediate class in 2014, fully cashing in on the potential which he had started to show last year.
In the 2013 campaign, Rabat was third in the championship behind then teammate Pol Espargaro - who won the title - and Scott Redding. As both those riders moved up to MotoGP™ Rabat made the switch to the Marc VDS Racing Team in place of Redding and has this season made the most of his opportunity on a competitive Kalex machine run by one of the best team’s in the class.
After a good winter of testing and pre-season testing Rabat’s season started with a bang. Rabat won the race from pole crossing the line ahead of Takaaki Nakagami who was subsequently disqualified for the the use of a non-regulation air intake system, moving Mika Kallio up into second place.
Indeed Kallio would emerge as the biggest challenger to his Marc VDS Racing Team colleague in the title battle as an intriguing - always affable - dynamic evolved in the box between the pair.
Moto3™ World Champion and rookie in the intermediate class, Maverick Viñales, won at round two in Texas, a sensational performance in just his second 600cc race. Rabat finished second having started on pole again.
On new territory in Argentina Rabat showed his brilliance again with another win from pole, but as the World Championship arrived in Europe for the Jerez round Rabat missed pole for the first time in 2014 and finished the race sixth – with Kallio victorious.
The Finn would win again at the next round at Le Mans, with Rabat third. However, Tito responded like a champion and won back-to-back races himself, both from pole – the first at Mugello and the second at Rabat’s home round at Barcelona-Catalunya, with the Spaniard setting the fastest lap of the race in both contests.
Kallio had missed the podium at both those events and Rabat’s lead was up 34 points.
Assen saw Rabat take pole again but in complicated weather conditions Anthony West took a first win in more than 11 years and Rabat finished in eighth place, his worst finish of the year.
At Sachsenring and Indianapolis Rabat finished fourth in the two races either side of the summer break, having qualified on the front row at both. But the summer brought good news for the rider as his contract renewal with the Marc VDS Racing Team for 2015 meant he could fully focus on clinching the title.
At Brno and round 11, Rabat responded to Kallio’s Indy win by notching up his fifth win of the season – crossing the finish line over three seconds ahead of the Finn who was second.
Two additional consecutive wins at Silverstone and Misano saw Rabat take control of the championship, coming from behind in the latter part of the contests to overtake Kallio and leave his teammate in second place in both races.
At Aragon it was Viñales’ turn to win again but with Rabat second and Kallio seventh the championship leader edged closer to the title.
As the triple header of fly away rounds got underway at Japan, Rabat scored his 11th podium result of the year in third place, whilst Kallio was fifth – handing Tito a 38-point advantage in the standings with three rounds to go.
Rabat therefore got his first title shot at Phillip Island knowing that if he could win the race and if his teammate could not do better than fourth he would take the championship. But Kallio made him wait a week longer as he crossed the line fourth, with Rabat in third place.
Seven days later at Sepang Rabat rode patiently to third in the race in the sweltering Malaysian heat, leading in the early stages having qualified on pole. With Viñales winning and Kallio second, Rabat celebrated on the podium with the two other key protagonists in this year’s intermediate class championship.
4 years ago