Marc VDS head to Le Mans after successful Almeria test

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Friday, 9 May 2014

The Marc VDS Racing Team head to round five of the Moto2 and Moto3 World Championships at Le Mans with some confidence, after a successful two-day test at the Almeria circuit in Spain.

Mika Kallio focussed on the set-up of his Kalex Moto2 machine over the course of the two-days, evaluating changes based on the data collected during the first four races of the season.

"The data we’ve collected over the first four races this season gave us some ideas as to how we could improve the bike, but it’s not possible to test these changes during a hectic race weekend," said Kallio. "The two-days at Almeria provided an ideal opportunity for us to try seven or eight different things with the set up, and the results were quite positive. I also got to test Livio’s Moto3 bike, just to offer some feedback on his set up. I only did seven laps, and it’s almost 10 years since I rode a small bike, but I quite enjoyed it. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to test it again later in the season. Now we head to Le Mans, which isn’t one of my favourite tracks as it’s a bit stop start, but it’s a circuit that I’ve gone well on in the past. Hopefully the work we did in Almeria will pay dividends next weekend in France."

For Tito Rabat Almeria is like a second home, as the 24-year-old Spaniard spends a lot of time turning laps at the circuit between Moto2 races. Rabat, like his Marc VDS teammate, focussed mainly on testing different settings on his Kalex Moto2 machine, but still managed to beat his own lap record around the 4.025km Almeria track.

"To come to Almeria, my favourite circuit, with the team was like a dream for me," commented the Spaniard. "I really enjoyed the two days, as it was a chance to get to know everyone in the team even better, without the pressures of a race weekend. Also I got to spend some time with Marc van der Straten, our team owner. I know the Almeria circuit very well, so it was a great opportunity to see where we can improve with the bike and we are well prepared for Le Mans next week. We still have work to do, but the aim in France will remain the same; to win."

After a frustrating Jerez weekend, the Almeria test provided an opportunity for Livio Loi and his crew to further refine the set up of the 17-year-old Belgian’s Kalex-KTM machine, and to rebuild Loi’s confidence in the bike. Significant progress was made, which was reflected in the lap times, but not without incident. Loi highsided at the chicane on day two but was uninjured in the crash. Despite the crash, he is now looking forward with more confidence to Le Mans.

"Although nobody wants to crash, the fact that I had the confidence to push hard enough to go over the highside for the first time shows just how much of an improvement we made to the bike at Almeria," explained the Belgian youngster. "We made big changes to the set up on the second day and, immediately, my confidence in the front was there. Before it always felt like it was going to close, and quite often it did, but the feeling on the second day of the test was much, much better. It meant I was able to push much harder and I was on a really fast lap when I got a little too aggressive with the throttle out of the chicane and the rear came round on me. The test has restored my confidence after the disappointment of Jerez and I’m now looking forward to Le Mans next weekend."

For the Monster Energy Grand Prix of France, which takes place over the weekend of 17/18 May, the Marc VDS Racing Team’s Moto2 and Moto3 bikes will run in full Elf livery.

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