Miller and Rabat battle hard in scorching Spain
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Jack Miller and Tito Rabat gained plenty of knowledge but unfortunately no points at the end of a demanding MotoGP race at the Jerez track in Spain today.
With ambient temperatures considerably higher than those experienced in practice and qualifying, tyre preservation took on greater importance in a physically demanding 27-lap race that was played out in front of a packed crowd of over 100,000 vocal fans.
Australian Miller did a fantastic job of conserving his tyres in the opening laps to come on strong in the latter stages of a race that saw the 21-year-old post lap times comparable to those competing around 10th position.
Miller’s impressive pace and determination to shrug off the on-going discomfort of a right ankle injury suffered in Texas went largely unrewarded, as he had to settle for 17th position. But he can take great encouragement from his second finish of the season going into an important one-day test at Jerez tomorrow.
Rabat also rode a strong race to try and preserve his 100% point scoring record in 2016. But the sizzling hot track temperatures saw him drop his pace in the face of deteriorating rear grip in the closing stages, as he opted to gain and experience and finish for the fourth race in a row.
Without the pressure and time constraints of a race weekend, Rabat is looking forward to a full day on track for tomorrow’s test session, where he plans to further work on his riding style.
Jack Miller: 17th
“It was a tough weekend but I am happy to have got through it safely and with a solid finish under my belt after the injury problems in Austin. I struggled throughout the race in the hairpins and it really showed in the early laps. I had no confidence and couldn’t make any passes but I have to be positive because the heat made it a very physical race and my body held up really well, so all the training I’ve been able to do while still hurt has paid off. In the second part of the race I felt good because I’d worked hard to conserve my tyres. Maybe I saved them a bit too much but it was important to finish and learn a lot. I look forward to the test tomorrow without any pressure where I can just focus on improving the bike in the hairpins, which is something I’ll need to be better with at the next race in Le Mans.”
Tito Rabat: 18th
“I can’t be too happy with today’s result but I am happy that we made important progress in solving some of our wheelie issues under acceleration. I’ve struggled a lot in that area and we found a good direction this weekend. I finished the race again which is important to get data and experience for the future and I am happy with my rhythm at the beginning of the race. I struggled in the final laps when the grip went down but I think I made another positive step this weekend. I could follow a few riders and it was only in the last laps that I dropped back when the tyres started to wear. We have the test now in Jerez tomorrow and I can try and use what I have learned in the first four races to improve my riding style and be more competitive in the next few races.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“It was a difficult race for Jack and Tito when you look at their final position but at least from mid-race distance we can take encouragement from the fact that their lap times were comparable to those close to the top 10. With a better qualifying I think both could have finished inside the points, which is where we need to be. Where we finished is not where we want to be but both of them finished and gained more experienced and credit to Jack because conditions were much hotter today and he rode a brave and determined race, despite his physical problems with the ankle injury.”