Miller and Rabat battle tricky conditions at Assen
Team Estrella Galicia Marc VDS 0,0 riders Jack Miller and Tito Rabat were thrown into the deep end with tricky conditions in a rain hit qualifying session for tomorrow's Dutch TT.
Miller walked away from a harmless crash to qualify 19th for the 86th edition of the famous Assen race with Rabat 20th on the time sheets.
The rain that had threatened since Friday morning arrived just before qualifying after both Miller and Rabat had performed strongly in the morning FP3 session in dry conditions.
Miller was 14th in FP3 and within a second of fastest time set by eventual pole winner Andrea Dovizioso while Rabat had dramatically sliced 2.2s off his previous best time.
And then in the drizzling rain of qualifying Miller's talent shone through with the 21-year-old Australian's first fast lap putting him in third place with the chance of progressing into Qualifying 2.
Miller's surge was slowed on his second qualifying run when he crashed at the right-hand Mandeveen (Turn 10) leaving him with a best time of 1'49.775.
For Rabat the wet qualifying session was a rare opportunity for the MotoGP rookie to familiarise himself with the Honda RC213V on rain tyres.
For tomorrow's 26-lap race on the iconic 4.5km Assen layout both Miller and Rabat will move forward one spot on the grid because of a rear-of-grid penalty imposed on Andrea Iannone who qualified ninth.
Jack Miller: 19th – 1’49.775
“It was pity it rained just before the session and we ran out of time to make some set-up changes before my first exit. I thought I could have done a faster time on my second run but the little crash at turn 10 stopped us from showing our full potential. I have a strong pace both in the wet and the dry and I've started back on the grid before so I know what to expect. It is what it is so I'm ready for a strong race tomorrow.”
Tito Rabat: 20th – 1’49.779
“Today I felt better in the dry FP3 session and I have improved my performance every time I have gone out on the track. I also felt comfortable in the rain during qualifying and then as the track dried I thought I could go a little faster but decided it was safer not to risk too much in the conditions. I have a good feeling in both the wet and the dry so I have some confidence for the race no matter the weather conditions.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“In the circumstances it was a good effort from both riders, the conditions were not easy with the rain coming in the afternoon. It was our first time on the track with wet weather tyres on a drying surface and it is difficult to make a perfect plan to deal with this. Overall there were positives with both Jack and Tito putting in good performances in the dry FP3 session and then dealing with the tricky conditions in qualifying. Now we just have see what we can do in the race, depending on the weather conditions.”