Miller and Rabat get down to business at Silverstone
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Jack Miller and Tito Rabat encountered cool and cloudy conditions on the opening day of practice for this weekend’s hugely anticipated British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Miller made a welcome return to action after back and wrist injuries sidelined the Australian from recent race action in Spielberg and Brno.
Not surprisingly, Miller adopted a cautious approach to proceedings in both of today’s 45-minute sessions to calmly begin the process of rebuilding his confidence on Honda’s RC213V machine.
Having worked round-the-clock to get in the best possible physical condition for Silverstone’s unique blend of fast corners, rapid changes of direction and hard braking zones, Miller encountered some issues with a small fracture in his right hand that resulted from his heavy warm-up fall in Austria last month.
But Miller produced a typically gutsy performance to lap two seconds faster in FP2 this afternoon, and he finished the opening day on Silverstone’s demanding 5.9km layout in 17th position.
Rabat’s first taste of the long and technical Silverstone track on a 1000cc prototype MotoGP machine proved to be a difficult affair.
He was lacking the confidence needed to attack the fast changes of direction through the spectacular Maggotts and Becketts section and was also struggling for rear grip in some of Silverstone’s hard acceleration points.
Rabat improved by almost a second this afternoon and he is optimistic of making further significant progress tomorrow to boost his hopes of posting more competitive lap times in final practice and qualifying.
Jack Miller: 17th – 2’03.631
“I’m pretty happy with how today went because I’m struggling a bit with my hand. My back feels fine but we found a small fracture in the palm of my hand from the crash in Austria and it is giving me a fair bit of grief. I can brake fine in a straight line but if I have to brake into a right-hander and twist the wrist a little more it hurts. I’ll put plenty of ice on it tonight to try and settle it down and I’m confident it won’t be an issue in the race. I’ve shown a fair bit of speed considering I have been off the bike for a while and we’ve got some room to improve. This weekend is all about not taking too many risks and staying in the saddle, so I can build up my physical condition for the remaining races.”
Tito Rabat: 21st – 2’05.196
“Silverstone is a very long and fast track and you need to put in a lot of effort on the bike to be fast around here. I just don’t feel confident enough to push any harder. The main problem is that I don’t have enough grip on the rear but I need to find a solution. All I can do is keep my motivation high and not let my head drop at this difficult time. The timesheets look bad but tomorrow is another day and I will be working my hardest to improve the situation and gain more confidence and speed.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Today was certainly a very difficult start for both Jack and Tito here at Silverstone. Jack wasn’t really pushing hard today and I can understand that. Conditions were quite cool and he didn’t want to risk another crash having worked so hard to get himself fit for this race. I think he has something in reserve for tomorrow because today he wanted to save some strength. He has a little pain with his hand injury but I think we have a good set-up that will allow him to be more competitive tomorrow when he can push closer to his normal level. Tito is struggling and we can’t hide from that fact. He seems a bit lost and Silverstone is not an easy track on a MotoGP bike. So all we can do is work hard to try and make him comfortable and give him the confidence to get more out of the package.”