Miller looking for home race fillip in Island battle
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller heads home to Australia in determined mood and ready to tackle the unique challenge posed by the awe-inspiring Phillip Island track this weekend.
Fully recovered from back and right hand injuries that have plagued the Townsville-born star over the last six races, Miller is hoping a return to familiar shores will inspire him to a first top 10 finish since the German Grand Prix in mid-July.
Miller has race-winning experience on home soil after he took the chequered flag first in a sensational Moto3 race in 2014 when just 0.242s split the top six in a pulsating final lap showdown.
And the 21-year-old is certain to get a rousing reception from his passionate home crowd after he became just the 12th Australian rider in history to win in the premier class when he was victorious in the historic Dutch TT in Assen at the end of June.
Tito Rabat is relishing the chance to showcase his skills on one of the fastest tracks on the World Championship calendar after he returned to point scoring form in Japan last Sunday.
The Spaniard, who took third place from pole position in Australia in his Moto2 World Championship-winning campaign in 2014, will be looking to benefit from vital data collected during a pre-season test session at the Phillip Island track back in February to add to his tally of 29-points gained so far in 2016.
Vastly different weather conditions though in Australia’s spring season will definitely make the task of mastering the 4.4km Phillip Island a tough proposition.
Regardless of the climatic conditions, the Phillip Island track is undoubtedly one of the most popular of the season for the entire MotoGP grid and it is world famous for its super fast sections and jaw-dropping location adjacent to the Bass Strait.
“I am really looking forward to going home and riding in front of my home crowd at Phillip Island. It will feel extra special this year going back as a MotoGP winner and I want to bounce back from what was a pretty difficult weekend in Japan. I love Phillip Island and hopefully we can find something in the bike that gives me a bit more confidence to push at the limit. I was fast there last season on the Open class bike and I go there determined to turn around what has been a pretty rough period in the season for me. There is always a bit of extra pressure when you race at home but it is a cool feeling to know so many fans have come to watch you put on a show. It is pressure I thrive on and hopefully I can give the Australian crowd something to shout about.”
“I don’t think I am alone when I say that Phillip Island is one of my favourite tracks. The last race in Japan was certainly not easy but I kept my focus and pushed to my maximum and it was important to get back inside the points. The goal will be like always and that is to improve my confidence and rhythm in every session and have some fun. I have some experience of the Honda RC213V in Phillip Island after the test there in February, so it will be good to have some reference and data.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Tito arrives in Australia off the back of a confidence boosting weekend in Japan, where he finished in the points after making another big step with the bike. Phillip Island is a track he enjoys racing at and I'm confident that we'll see another big improvement from him this weekend. This is a big weekend for Jack. It's his home race and there is a lot of expectation from the Australian fans. However, he needs to maintain his focus and approach this weekend like any other after the disappointment of crashing out of the Japanese Grand Prix last time out. The good thing is that Jack normally responds well to pressure and, as the only Australian rider in MotoGP, I'm sure he will feel some positive pressure this weekend. He just needs to channel that and translate it into a good result on Sunday.”