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Victory for Folger as Rabat avoids crash

Victory for Folger as Rabat avoids crash

An excellent start to the Gran Premio bwin de España saw Rabat with a substantial lead before the grip dropped.

On the grid of the Moto2™ race Tito Rabat, Alex Rins and Simone Corsi all opted for the medium rear tyre going against the grain. The track temperature at the start of the race was quite low, which suited the medium compound better. Tito Rabat was able to break away in the early stages, but struggled significantly as his grip levels dropped with rising track temperatures and more worn tyres.

The tenth lap had Jonas Folger take the advantage after steadily closing in on Rabat. From here it was a steady and mature ride from the Qatar race winner, putting in a stream of mid 1’43s to increase his lead. This is just Folger’s second win in the Moto2™ championship and sees him move into second in the standings. Despite winning at Qatar, Austin and Argentina were difficult races for the German and this result puts his championship challenge back on course. “It was a really hard race for me. The first laps I used the new tyre a lot, when they started to drop it was hard to adapt my riding style,” he said after the race.

Despite being on the same tyres, Alex Rins showed a much quicker pace than Rabat towards the end of the race. The Moto2™ rookie has made a habit of coming strong at the end of the race, able to put in quick laps while other riders struggle for grip. Rins was setting times almost one second quicker than Rabat in the final five laps and was just behind him heading into the infamous Turn 13, attempting to dive up the inside of Rabat. This saw Rins crash out of the race as his front tyre collided with the back of Rabat’s bike. “In the last corner I tried to brake really hard. I thought Rabat would brake really hard too but then we touched,” commented Rins on the incident. He avoided any serious injury.

The touch pushed Rabat slightly wide and off line, allowing Johann Zarco to sneak through. Rabat subsequently finished in third, securing his first podium of the year. “We made a good set up for the new tyre, but I had a lot of problems when the grip dropped. I couldn’t carry the speed in the corners or maintain a good line. I tried to brake late into the last corner because I know what can happen there,” commented Rabat. With 33 points, Rabat sits seventh in the standings and faces an uphill battle to defend his crown.

A poor start from ninth saw Zarco unable to gain places into Turn 1, but the Frenchman showed his experience and settled into a rhythm to close down and follow Rins. The Championship leader knew he would be unable to catch and pass Rins, deciding to settle in behind the Spaniard and benefit from any mistakes. Fortunately for Zarco, Rins’ last corner move opened the door and allowed him to secure second, increasing his overall championship lead.

“Rins tried something but he was a bit too far so I just managed my braking to have a good line. To start ninth and finish second is almost like a victory, so good for the championship,” said Zarco. The paddock now heads to Le Mans for Zarco’s home GP, where he has a best Moto2™ finish of fifth, alongside two DNFs.

It was a disaster of a race for Sam Lowes on the Speed Up machine, he and the team having made significant progress on bike setup during the weekend. Starting from sixth did not worry the Brit as he was confident of his pace over race distance, but a bad tyre saw him struggle to finish in 20th spot. Fellow Speed Up rider Julian Simon charged up to 11th after starting from last due to a penalty. “I felt a problem with rear grip on the warm up lap and it was impossible to ride the bike. I did the pace of the leaders in every session and I was good in Warm Up, so to have a tyre problem is disappointing. Staying on the track was pointless in the end,” commented a visibly upset Lowes.

There was also disappointment for 2014 Jerez winner Mika Kallio, the Finnish rider forced into the pits before the end of the race.

Several teams, including Cortese’s Dynavolt Intact GP team, will be running private tests ahead of the French GP.

Check out the full Moto2™ race results, and the latest Championship Standings.

Moto2, 2015, GRAN PREMIO bwin DE ESPAÑA, RAC, Jonas Folger, Johann Zarco, Tito Rabat, EG 0,0 Marc VDS, Ajo Motorsport, AGR Team

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