Rabat the target for everybody as Assen approaches

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Monday, 23 June 2014

No matter what happens at Assen this weekend, Tito Rabat will continue to lead the Moto2™ World Championship. With the summer break fast approaching, his rivals will be determined to reduce the margin at the most historic Grand Prix circuit of them all.

After another great win last time out at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Rabat has extended the intermediate class championship lead to 34 points over his team-mate Mika Kallio. With 25 on offer for a win, it takes no mathematician to realise that the Spaniard’s lead is invincible this coming weekend. With this in mind, the likes of Finland’s Kallio and Spain’s Maverick Viñales of Paginas Amarillas HP 40 (second and third in the standings and the only two races winners other than Rabat so far this year) must respond now.

Previous Moto2™ World Champions have experienced mixed fortunes at Assen within their title-winning seasons. Toni Elias may have finished second in 2010, but there was a non-finish for Stefan Bradl in 2011. Marc Marquez saw the chequered flag in fifth position in 2012, with Pol Espargaro then becoming the first rider to win the Dutch event en route to the Moto2™ title last year. Perhaps trivia like this will generate some promise for those chasing Rabat, who at home in Catalunya achieved the absolute clean sweep of victory from pole, setting the fastest lap along the way.

Many will be hoping they made progress at the post-race test in Barcelona. Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert) continues to lead the way for Suter as three Kalex bikes lock out the top three of the championship; the Swiss now has MotoGP™ experience under his belt too, having racked up a mammoth 89 laps with Avintia Racing during the Barcelona test. Fifth in the overall classification is the consistent Simone Corsi for NGM Forward Racing, while Luis Salom was extremely fortunate to escape from his Barcelona race crash with only an injured finger; while the incident took both himself and Jonas Folger out of the Grand Prix, the former was also forced to miss the test on the following Tuesday. Tom Luthi also hopes for good fortune – perhaps a repeat of his Assen podium finish of four years ago.

Free Practice 1 for the Moto2™ Iveco Daily TT Assen gets underway at 10:55am local time (GMT +1) on Thursday 26 June, with Saturday’s race starting at 12:20pm.

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