No Phillip Island test for injured Rabat
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS will be represented only by Jack Miller at the Phillip Island MotoGP test after Tito Rabat was forced to withdraw as a result of injuries sustained in his crash at Sepang.
The former Moto2 World Champion suffered a distal fracture of the radius and a fracture of the fifth metacarpal in the right hand as well as a fracture to the distal phalanx in the right foot in the turn 11 crash.
However, it was the severe laceration to the left knee sustained in the same crash that has forced the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider to sit out this week's three-day Phillip Island test. Surgeons were able to close the wound without having to resort to a skin graft but, despite undergoing a rigorous program of physiotherapy, Rabat has not recovered sufficient mobility in the joint to return to action in Australia.
Rabat is now working hard to regain full extension in the left knee ahead of the third and final preseason MotoGP test, which takes place at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar, starting on 10th March.
Miller is keen to get the Phillip Island test underway, after a positive three days last time out in Sepang. The Australian made a significant step forward with the set up of his Honda RC213V in Malaysia, finally finding the feeling with the front that has eluded him since he stepped up to the premier class in 2015.
The Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider is looking to build on this positive step here in Phillip Island, as he looks to further close the gap to the top of the timesheet.
“We arrive in Australia off the back of a successful three days in Sepang and the aim is to continue to build on what we achieved there. The lap times in Malaysia didn't really reflect the step forward we made with the front, because I didn't get a chance to throw in a soft tyre and go for it at the end, but the improvement was significant. Finally I had the front end feel that I've been missing and that was a massive boost to the confidence. Now we have to make the next step and close the gap to the quick guys at the top of the time sheet. I'm feeling fitter than ever after more training at home and I'm looking forward to the next three days at what is definitely the best track on the MotoGP calendar.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Tito has worked hard to be fit for the Phillip Island test, after sustaining quite debilitating injuries in Malaysia. While the fractures have healed nicely and wouldn't have stopped him from riding in Australia, the knee injury is a different story altogether. Despite intensive physiotherapy he still doesn't have the necessary extension in the joint and he risks popping the stitches – with the associated danger of infection – if he participates in the Phillip Island test. This is why we made the decision together with Tito to give him more time to recover ahead of the Qatar test, rather than risking everything for little gain by having him ride injured in Australia. This is the right decision for him and for the team. Jack made a bit of a breakthrough with the set up of the bike in Malaysia, but there is still a lot of work to do if he is to realise his true potential this season. We need to be closer to the top of the timesheet and this will be the goal for Jack and his crew this week in Australia.”