Miller and Rabat ready to star in Spielberg thriller
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Jack Miller and Tito Rabat are ready to kick off the most intense period of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship when they return from the three-week summer break at the Spielberg track in Austria.
This weekend’s 28-lap battle commences a sequence of nine races in 14 weeks, and none will be more challenging than the super-fast and undulating 4.318km Spielberg venue.
Australian Miller is aiming to continue his recent purple patch after recording three successive top 10 finishes, which included a famous win at the Dutch TT in Assen.
A recent two-day test at the Spielberg track gave Miller the perfect opportunity to reacquaint himself with the circuit, which he raced at during a spell in the German 125cc Championship back in 2011.
Miller was happy with the progress made on tailoring the set-up of his Honda RC213V to meet the specific demands of the Spielberg track, which features just 10 corners and a short lap time of just over 80 seconds.
Perfect weather conditions at the test in late July enabled Spaniard Rabat to familiarise himself with the Spielberg layout. He was also delighted to make a significant breakthrough in finding more front-end confidence after a promising first half to his rookie premier class campaign.
This weekend’s race is the 25th staging of the Austrian Grand Prix but the first since 1997 when the track was known as the A1-Ring.
Set in stunning scenery, Spielberg is set to take over from the Phillip Island track as the fastest on the MotoGP schedule, with an average speed some 5 km/h faster than the spectacular Australian circuit.
“After a relaxing summer break I’m raring to get started again in Austria and build on the performances of the three previous races. I ended the first half of the season really strongly, so it will be important to keep the momentum going. It was nice to try the track out in Austria before this weekend at the recent test and I was able to put in a really strong race rhythm there. We need to wait to see what the tyre allocation is from Michelin but tyre life at the test was not an issue for me. It will be an interesting race because it is a horsepower track. That might help the red bike a little more than our package but like always I’m ready and motivated to give it a good go. This is the first race this year that I am going into with a lot of confidence and at 100% fitness with a good feeling on the bike, so I’m really keen to get going again.”
“It has been a good summer break and I took one week off completely to fully recharge the batteries but now I am ready to get started again and I’m looking forward to riding in Austria. I really liked the circuit when I tested there and it will be good to go with some experience of the layout. It looks like the Ducati will be particularly strong but I must focus on the performance of the rest on Honda to understand my level more. The test was my best of the season and I go there full of motivation. I gained a lot of experience in the first half of the season and my target for the second half is to improve in all aspects. I’ll be looking to be stronger in qualifying and be close to Q2. And I’ll be looking to finish in the points on a more regular basis and to finish all the remaining races.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“The summer break has allowed us all to recharge our batteries ready for the second half of the season. Jack and Tito have had some time away from the track to relax, to train and to reflect on the first half of the season but now it's time to get back to work. Jack has shown that he has the potential to run consistently in the top ten and we're expecting to see him do just that now that the leg injury he sustained in the winter has had time to heal fully. Tito made a big step forward during the recent Spielberg test, finding the front feeling with the Honda RC213V and the Michelin tyres that had eluded him previously. It was a big boost to his confidence and we should now see him pushing his teammate just that little bit harder. It's been a good break, but I think everyone is looking forward to getting back to racing this weekend.”