Márquez gets to grips with Island challenge

Márquez gets to grips with Island challenge

Phillip Island, Australia – 16 October 2015: Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Álex Márquez and Tito Rabat experienced mixed weather conditions and mixed fortunes on the opening day of practice for this weekend’s Australian Moto2 Grand Prix.

Today was a typical day at the fast and flowing Phillip Island track, with FP1 this morning eventually run on a dry track in cool and blustery conditions after a short rain shower disrupted the opening 45-minute session.

This afternoon’s session though took place under clear blue skies and glorious sun, which gave Márquez the perfect opportunity to learn the technically challenging coastal circuit on a Moto2 machine.

The 19-year-old, who finished second from pole position in last year’s historic Moto3 battle, improved his pace by 1.4s this afternoon. Marquez was particularly satisfied with improvements made to high-speed stability in unpredictably windy conditions to finish 15th fastest on combined timesheets.

Former Moto2 World Champion Tito Rabat’s heroic attempt to participate in the Phillip Island round, just 11 days after breaking his left arm, were ended by a nasty high-speed crash at the final turn in FP2. 

Rabat will play no further part in the Australian Grand Prix weekend, having been deemed not fit to ride by MotoGP medical staff. The 26-year-old Spaniard will travel with the team to Sepang, where he will undergo a further assessment of the injury to his left arm before deciding whether to race in the Malaysian Grand Prix. 
Alex Marquez 15th – 1’33.958
“The conditions were not perfect with the wind but these are conditions you get all of the time at Phillip Island. We improved the bike a lot to manage the wind in the fast changes of direction but we need to improve in the slow corners in the second and fourth sector. I followed Zarco and I could see only three points on the lap where I was losing, and two of those we are turn 4 and turn 10. We can also improve rear grip but this track is so great to ride in Moto2. You have the fast corners where the rear is spinning and it demands a lot more concentration than Moto3 because one mistake can be a disaster.”

Tito Rabat: 27th – 1’36.192
“It was a big crash in FP2 but, thankfully, I walked away uninjured and with no further damage to my left arm. The MotoGP medical staff made the decision that I was not fit to race here in Phillip Island and, after the crash, I agree with this. Now I have six more days to recover and I will see how I feel after that.”

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“I know Álex was looking to be a bit closer to the top of the timesheet today, but he finished this afternoon’s session knowing exactly where on the track he needs to make up time tomorrow and I’m confident he can do that. Tito was fortunate to walk away uninjured after crashing in the final corner, as we’ve seen before the consequences of going down there. The MotoGP medical staff here have deemed him not fit to ride, so he will take no further part this weekend. He will, however, travel to Sepang, where we will assess his fitness ahead of the Malaysian GP.”