Miller and Rabat start battle to master Misano
Hot and humid conditions at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli meant the opening day of practice for round 13 of the MotoGP World Championship proved problematic for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Jack Miller and Tito Rabat.
Australian Miller was in dazzling form in this morning’s FP1 session, as he focused on evaluating two new Michelin front tyres (soft and medium) that have been added to the allocation for the first time in 2016.
Designed for better stability and improved consistency over race distance, Miller quickly established a fast rhythm around the tight and twisty 4.2km Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli and a best lap of 1’34.143 was just over 0.5s away from the top three.
A sharp rise in track temperature this afternoon though stalled Miller’s progress, and despite his best efforts he was unable to replicate the blistering speed he demonstrated so effectively this morning.
With surface temperature up from 27 to 43 degrees, Miller encountered unexpected grip issues that he will work hard to solve in advance of qualifying tomorrow, which looks set to be staged in scorching hot conditions again.
Miller’s strong showing in FP1 meant he ended the day in a promising 16th position and only 0.5s away from the top 10.
Spaniard Rabat suffered a fast crash in FP1 this morning at turn 13 and he took another tumble at turn 14 in the considerably hotter conditions in the early part of the second 45-minute session.
The remainder of the session was a confidence building exercise for the Spaniard, who rode with typical determination and courage to overcome a lack of grip and feeling to set a best time of 1’43.725.
That was a big improvement of almost 0.6s from the 2014 Moto2 World Champion.
Jack Miller: 16th – 1’34.143
“I felt great this morning and the bike was really comfortable to ride. I was really happy and I felt inside my comfort zone when I did my best lap in FP1. But it was a completely different story this afternoon and I couldn’t even get close to my best lap time even though it felt like I was pushing like crazy. I just didn’t feel comfortable. The track temperature increased by around 20 degrees and it completely transformed the performance of the bike. It is a big disappointment and I’ve got to look through the data tonight to come up with a solution for FP4 and qualifying tomorrow when it will be hot again.”
Tito Rabat: 21st – 1’34.725
“I had a few issues with front feeling this morning and I was lucky to escape without injury after the fast crash at turn 13. The hotter conditions this afternoon made the track very difficult and unfortunately I had another crash. After that it was difficult for me to recover my confidence, but when the situation is complicated like now all you can do is remain motivated and keep pushing on track. I improved my pace at the end of FP2 but clearly it is not enough. I am giving my all and so is my crew, so it is difficult to understand what more we can do. But I will keep trying and be as best prepared as I can for the race on Sunday.
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“This morning was actually a decent start with Jack competitive and not far off top six pace, so we went into the second session confident that he could be challenging for the top 10 again. But as the temperature rose for FP2 it was obvious that he encountered some problems, particularly with the front tyre. We are struggling a little bit to find a direction with the new front tyre options that are available this weekend, so we have to work hard to find a solution tomorrow. Tito had a couple of crashes today that inevitably dented his confidence and I was happy to see him continue to push and improve his pace to set a respectable lap time.”