2014 Valencia Moto2 Preview
As the 2014 Moto2 season draws near its climax at the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana in Valencia, Spain, on Nov. 9, one must wonder if the race will be a grand finale or anticlimax.
After all, Spaniard Esteve Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team) has already clinched the World Championship with his podium finish at Sepang, Malaysia, one spot behind title runner-up and Marc VDS Racing Team teammate, Mika Kallio, but 37 points ahead of Kallio in the standings.
Rabat has 13 podium finishes so far this season, including seven victories. He has also qualified on pole 10 times.
Still, Rabat is an intense competitor and if he’s on the track, he’s likely to be riding out to the edge as he has had to do all season to capture the World Championship. Dialing back the pace and changing his approach could also be more problematic than safe, if he should put himself back in the pack instead of near the front.
So, from Rabat’s perspective, simply riding his tough competitive race is likely to be what he shows his home country fans.
Teammate Mika Kallio (FIN) has never shown a tendency to let up all season pushing Rabat and anyone else—and himself— relentlessly. Kallio has 10 podium finishes to show for his efforts in 17 starts this season including three victories and he started on the pole in three events on his way to scoring 289 points only 15 points ahead of the current third place finisher in the standings Maverick Viñales (Paginas Amarillas HP 40).
Like Rabat, Spaniard Viñales will want to show his stuff for the home country fans and leading the newly-crowned Moto2 World Champion and the rest of the field home would be a great way to do it.
And, if Kallio should happen to have an off day, say finishing sixth or lower, and Viñales claim another victory as he did at Sepang, Kallio could fall to third place and Viñales finish second overall.
That in mind, Kallio is unlikely to let up. Viñales has nine podium finishes so far this season, including four victories. Viñales has secured Rookie of the Year in Moto2 and will have a Suzuki factory mount for his move up to MotoGP in 2015.
Unlike Kallio, Viñales has no worries about being overtaken and dropping a spot in the standings in the final race of the season. He is 105 points ahead of Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Sitag), the fourth place rider who has 169 points.
While Viñales need not consider dropping a spot in the standings in the finale, Luthi is not so well off. He is only seven points ahead of fifth place Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert) who shaved three points off of Luthi’s lead with his finish at Sepang.
Johann Zarco (Caterham Suter) holds sixth place in the standings with 130 points and, like Luthi, cannot move up in the standings. In seventh place in the points is Italian Simone Corsi with 100 points, followed by Sandro Cortese with 85 points in eighth place, Franco Morbidelli with 75 points in ninth place and Spaniard Luis Salom in tenth place with 72 points.
So, among the five riders in the lower half of the top ten riders of 2014, there remains a couple of riders who could improve their position in the standings, which could make for some interesting competition at Valencia.