Bruising Barcelona practice for Miller and Rabat

Bruising Barcelona practice for Miller and Rabat

The opening day of MotoGP practice at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya proved to be a challenging affair for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Jack Miller and Tito Rabat.

Gloriously sunny conditions resulted in exceedingly high track temperatures that meant Miller and Rabat’s primary target was to improve grip with their Honda RC213V machinery at the start of the seventh round of the 2016 World Championship campaign.

Australian Miller ended the day in 20th position, having walked away unhurt from a fall at the second corner this morning and a fast tumble at turn three in FP2. Miller will now focus on gaining more front-end confidence in the first and final sector of the fast and flowing 4.7km Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya in advance of tomorrow’s final practice and qualifying.

Tito Rabat was the hero of the day as the 26-year-old took to the track this morning just 13 days after fracturing his left collarbone in a practice crash for last month’s Italian Grand Prix.

Rabat luckily didn’t aggravate the injury when he fell at turn two in FP1 and his bravery and determination was rewarded with a big improvement in his lap time in this afternoon’s sun drenched second 45-minute session.

Rabat was able to lap 1.5s faster in FP2 to finish just 0.027s behind Miller and he brilliantly reduced the gap to the fastest pace from over three seconds down to under two.

Jack Miller: 20th – 1’43.621
“Today has not been an easy day and I have found it difficult to get a good feeling with the bike in the first and last sector. They feature a lot of corners where you roll into them and you need a lot of confidence on the front-end and we are just struggling so much. I lost the front in both crashes and I’m not happy about that but we know the reason why I went down and we need to find more confidence on the front-end. It is difficult but all the team and I can do is work to improve the feeling on the bike and try and be more competitive for the remainder of the weekend. We are definitely missing a little bit but hopefully we can find some improvements with the setting tomorrow.”

Tito Rabat: 21st – 1’43.648
“After all the hard work I put in to be fit for this weekend following my crash in Mugello, crashing again in FP1 and being more than three seconds from the front was the last thing I needed! I am happy with my performance this afternoon and we made a big step and the gap to the best pace here in Barcelona is the same as it was on Friday in Mugello, so this shows we did a lot of good work today. I am confident we can bring the gap down again tomorrow. Physically I don’t feel too bad and it is a great feeling to be riding in front of my home crowd.”

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“It has been a difficult day and we have to admit we saw Tito and Jack on the floor a little bit too much today. We were quite worried when Tito crashed because he fell heavily on the left shoulder he injured in Mugello, and we can’t forget that Jack is still working to fully recover from his pre-season leg injury, so the positive is that both escaped any further damage. The position is not great but I think if we can improve by two or three tenths tomorrow then we are talking about a completely different picture.”