It was a welcome return to the top 10 for Reale Avinita Racing’s Tito Rabat at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, his first since his horror crash at the 2018 British GP and his best result since crossing the line 8th at the Americas GP last season.
Before Barcelona, Rabat’s best finish in 2019 was a P14 at Mugello. His only other point-scoring rides were two 15th places in Austin and Jerez but a P9 at his home GP will lift the 2014 Moto2™ World Champion’s spirits as he gears up for an Assen-Sachsenring double-header.
“Yeah I’m really happy because we made a clever race,” began Rabat, but the number 53 rider wasn’t impressed by some of the antics at the beginning of the race. “We also made good laps times but at the beginning it was unbelievable. If you start at the back, the back guys are completely mad. The front guys are ok but the rear is crazy. They pass from here, they pass from here and they crash, the first two at Turn 1 and the second at Turn 10.
“Then I go slowly, find the rhythm. I went with medium-medium tyres, hard to warm up but after they were perfect. I passed Iannone and Zarco and after I tried to take Nakagami but in the end it wasn’t possible.”
There’s no hiding from the fact that the likelihood of a top ten may not have been possible if it wasn’t for the four-rider crash on Lap 2. But as the saying goes: to finish first, first you must finish. Rabat may not have finished first, but to be back having top 10 results after suffering such serious injuries at Silverstone last year is a win for him – and there’s no surprise these kinds of results feel like a victory for the Ducati rider.
“But anyway, top ten at the home GP is unbelievable, very very happy, thank you to the team and to Ducati and I hope we can improve because it’s just 22 seconds (from the win) and on the first lap we lose a lot. Also the last laps because there was nobody in front or behind so I said ‘calm Tito’. We had a better performance than we thought for the race, we need to work a little bit more.”
Rabat completed 75 laps during Monday’s Barcelona MotoGP™ test to finish 13th, just 0.013 off factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) and ahead of Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi. Can we see the 30-year-old pushing for more top tens for the rest of the season?