Miller and Rabat open the MotoGP season in Qatar
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Jack Miller and Tito Rabat completed the first official free practice session in cool and breezy conditions at the Losail International Circuit this evening.
After a positive preseason of testing Miller was 17th with a best lap of 1'56.453 and was closely followed by Rabat in 19th at 1'56.725.
Miller's momentum was slowed when he had a sudden front-end crash at T2 but the Australian rider returned to the track on his spare Honda RC213V to finish the opening 45-minute session with a series of solid race pace laps.
Track temperature peaked at just 22 degrees with dry conditions despite the threat of rain.
Rabat continued to make progress from preseason injuries, which forced him to miss the Phillip Island test. The Spaniard completed 18 laps as he worked towards an ideal race set-up.
Sunday's night's 22-lap Qatar Grand Prix is the opening race of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship.
Jack Miller: 17th – 1'56.453
“The crash came on my first flying lap after I switched to the medium front tyre. I just got a big front-end lock in a straight line; the bike just disappeared from under me. It was cool and there was some wind. But it's a reasonable start and I feel good on the bike, I went back out on used tyres and did decent lap times on my second bike although I was a bit shaken from the fall. But overall I'm happy with how we are working this weekend for the opening race.”
Tito Rabat: 19th – 1' 56.725
“I am very happy with my physical condition for first official practice of the season although the track conditions were not so good, it was cold, windy and the track a little dirty. We decided to use the soft tyre in the front although it moves a lot in the middle of the corner when turning but it also gives me a better feeling with the bike. I am very happy with the chassis and electronics and I am in a positive mood for the rest of the weekend.”
Ramon Aurin: Chief Engineer – Jack Miller
“Jack had a good feeling on the bike although the wind was a small issue for him. We are expecting some rain tomorrow so we put in a soft tyre to try and be in the top ten but on the first flying lap in turn two a gust of wind hit him and perhaps the tyre was not quite up to temperature and he crashed. But Jack is in a positive frame of mind and he has a strong rhythm already for the race.”