WHEN someone is appealing for information about a stolen bike, and a machine matching its description appears on eBay, alarm bells should be ringing.
That’s exactly what appears to have happened with Tito Rabat’s 2014 championship-winning Moto2 bike.
According to the team, Marc VDS, the championship-winning bike was stolen at around 2am on Wednesday from its headquarters in Gosselies, Belgium.
Now a bike described as Rabat's 2014 championship-winning one is listed for sale on eBay by Wheels Motorcycles in Peterborough, at £49,995.
But Marc VDS says it's a different machine, and it's possible for 'two or three' bikes to be correctly described as championship-winning.
Wheels’ eBay add says: ‘Tito Rabat's 2014 Championship Winning Marc VDS Kalex Moto2 bike… This bike won the 2014 Moto2 Championship with Tito Rabat onboard, comes with documentation including signed proof of authenticity. This is a race bike and not for road use.’
A salesman at Wheels said is was “the bike that he rode in Valencia, won the championship with. We’ve got all the documentation to prove it.”
Told Marc VDS had reported a championship-winning bike stolen, the salesman said: “No, it’s not that bike. We’ve had ours months.
“The one that’s been stolen is a bike that he rode in the championship but it was at the beginning of the season.”
Ian Wheeler, Marc VDS’ Marketing and Communications Manager, later clarified that it was “completely possible” Wheels had a certificate of authenticity for a bike other than the one that had been stolen, and that "two or three" machines could be described as championship-winning.
He said: “As soon as we reported our bike stolen people sent us the link to that bike but it’s not the bike we’re looking for. We can see straight away there are differences.”
He said he thought the bike on eBay was the one Rabat rode in the final race of 2014 at Valencia, while the stolen machine was the one on which he secured the championship at the penultimate round at Sepang.
He said: “The thing with these bikes is that because we only run one bike per rider, they’re a little bit like Trigger’s broom.
“The bike that Tito started the championship on in Qatar at the beginning of 2014 probably used about, at a guess, two or three chassis, maybe four, because the chassis get upgraded and obviously crashes damage them.
“So you can have two or three people who’ve got Tito Rabat’s championship-winning bike if you like, because he rode it during 2014.
“It might be that the bike they [Wheels] have has half the parts that he had in Malaysia because the parts are swapped between chassis, the chassis are swapped between races, so it’s not like he’s run one bike from the start of the season to the end.”