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Rabat back on top in front of home crowd

 Rabat back on top in front of home crowd

Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS’s Tito Rabat topped the opening day of practice for the Gran Premio bwin de España in front of his home fans.

Track conditions played an important role in Friday’s proceedings, with FP2 reaching track temperatures upwards of 44°C. Higher track temperatures are generally better, however at certain tracks grip can start to reduce after a certain point. Only one rider in the top ten, Jonas Folger, improved their time in the significantly hotter second session. “I’m happy with how today went, but tomorrow is another day so we will have to keep trying 100%,” said Rabat.

A time of 1’43.198s had Rabat leading the way in FP1, and would see the Moto2™ rider lead overall. Jerez saw Rabat claim his first pole position and win in the World Championship back in 2013. This race comes at a crucial time for the Spanish rider who has been unable finish on the podium in the first three races of the year, a result of a combination of incidents with other riders and some difficulties with the 2015 Kalex frame. With Folger, Lowes and Zarco all having taken a race win, Rabat has ground to make up in the Championship battle.

Qatar race winner Jonas Folger also returned to running at the front, topping FP2 and finishing in fourth overall. The German has had success at Jerez in the past, claiming his first Moto2™ podium here last year. He set just two laps in the 1’43s in FP2 whereas Rabat managed over ten as the Spaniard focused on his race setup. Qualifying is important in Moto2™ as a high grid position can cement one’s spot in the fight with the leading group.

Both Lowes and Zarco continued their consistent approach to the Championship, with the duo second and fifth on combined times respectively. Neither rider was able to improve in the hotter conditions, but did show a stronger race pace in both sessions than the riders ahead of them. “When the track was very hot we had some small problems but I think we can keep improving and get some more grip, we tried a lot of different stuff including a rear link and some shock things,” explained Lowes

Paginas Amarillas HP 40 duo Alex Rins and Luis Salom added extra excitement to the FP2 session as the pair traded places over the course of several laps as though it was a race. Several of these moves were quite hard and saw each rider forced to sit up and change their lines to avoid contact.

2015 has seen a significant shift towards teams favouring the Kalex frame over the other options available. Not all riders have found the switch easy however, Dominique Aegerter was 20th on combined times. The Swiss rider finished on the podium on four occasions last year, including a win at the Sachsenring, but is struggling with confidence through fast corners since switching to the Kalex. Both his teammates also encountered problems today, an issue in FP1 forcing Luthi into the pits and Robin Mulhauser suffered a crash in FP2.

There were also crashes for Sandro Cortese, Lorenzo Baldassari and Thitipong Warokorn with all riders unhurt.

Check out the combined timesheets form the first day of Moto2™ practice in Jerez; FP3 is due to start at 10:55am local time on Sunday.

Moto2, 2015, GRAN PREMIO bwin DE ESPAÑA, FP2, Simone Corsi, Tito Rabat, Sam Lowes

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