Miller and Rabat make steady start in Sepang
After a long winter layoff Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Jack Miller and Tito Rabat were on track for the first time in 2017 today, as they started three days of testing at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
The weather forecast promised rain by late morning, which ensured an early pit lane exit for most of the 27 MotoGP riders participating in today's test, as they looked to take advantage of the hot and dry conditions.
In the end the rain didn't materialise until late in the afternoon, giving Miller and Rabat much needed dry track time to continue evaluating the revised chassis they first tested in Valencia last year.
The dry conditions also allowed both riders to get a feel for four new tyres from Michelin. The French manufacturer provided three new fronts, all evolution versions of the tyres first seen at the final race of 2016 in Valencia, and one new rear with a slightly stiffer construction to aid drive grip.
Miller and Rabat are both hoping for more dry track time when testing resumes tomorrow but the weather forecast doesn't look promising, with rain showers predicted to disrupt the penultimate day of testing from early morning onwards.
While rain is nothing new at Sepang, resurfacing work carried out last year means the track is now slow to dry, with the result that rain showers are far more disruptive to the testing program than in previous years.
Jack Miller: 22nd – 2'01.942 – 52 Laps
“Overall I'm pretty satisfied. Today was all about getting into the swing of things again after such a long break, not crashing and testing a few things on the bike. I like the new chassis a lot and the new compound Michelins, which we tested for the first time today, are an interesting development. Still, there's a lot of room for improvement between now and the end of the test, so I'm looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow. Hopefully the track will have dried out after the rain this afternoon and we can get back out there and get in some decent laps.”
Tito Rabat: 25th – 2'02.315 – 38 Laps
“Today was a pretty good day. I've been a long time off the bike and returning to the track for the first time is always a little bit exciting because everything seems so fast until you start to adapt to the speed again. But today was positive; I have more confidence with the bike, my team is working well and, step by step, we improved as the day progressed. Unfortunately the first day was cut short by the rain, but that has given us some time to go over the plan for tomorrow, when the aim is to improve again.”