Miller and Rabat keep focus in France
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Jack Miller and Tito Rabat made major improvements to their pace in surprisingly hot conditions on the opening day of MotoGP practice at the historic Le Mans track.
Australian Miller was able to knock an impressive 0.8s off his best time in the two 45-minute sessions, which took part in front a huge French crowd already packed into the legendary Bugatti venue.
Miller ended the day in 18th position on the combined leaderboard and he thinks there’s plenty more to come from his Honda RC213V package after he finished just 0.7s behind Jerez winner Valentino Rossi in 10th position.
Mastering the stop-and-go Le Mans track, which is dominated by a series of hard braking zones and tough acceleration points, was the big challenge facing rookie Rabat today.
But the former Moto2 World Championship acquitted himself exceptionally well and he was able to lap a massive 1.5s faster this afternoon to finish just over 0.1s behind Miller. A best lap of 1.34.789 placed the Spaniard 20th on the combined timesheets.
Jack Miller: 18th – 1’34.656
“I feel pretty good and I don’t think the final position shows how happy we are with our performance today. The lap times are pretty close and we know we have a lot of margin to improve, but overall it was a good day and we’ll keep working hard to be even stronger tomorrow.”
Tito Rabat: 20th – 1’34.789
“This morning I struggled a little bit but we were able improve in FP2 and I was able to find a lot of time. I’m within two seconds of the best pace and the gap from 11th is not huge. I can improve my technique by turning with less metres to keep more corner speed and if I can do this I am sure we can make a big step tomorrow.”
Chris Pike: Tito Rabat Crew Chief
“We need to improve the stability of the bike for Tito, particularly through the fast first corner and when he releases the brake the bike doesn’t feel so stable. We made improvements in the braking zone and he can brake harder now but we have lost a bit of stability when he comes off the brakes. That’s where we will try and improve but I am confident we can solve that for tomorrow and help him close the gap to the front.”