Positive three day Sepang test for Miller
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller declared himself satisfied after significantly improving his lap time on the third and final day of testing at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
Alongside tyre testing for Michelin, Miller and his crew used the track time available over the three days to focus on improving the 22-year-old Australian's confidence in the front of his Honda RC213V.
Limited confidence in the front-end, especially mid-corner during the transition from releasing the brakes to opening the gas, is an issue that has dogged Miller since he stepped up to the premier class in 2015, but the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider made a big step forward in Sepang.
Changes to the set up of his Honda RC213V combined with a revised front fork from Öhlins brought a significant improvement, allowing Miller to improve his lap time by over one second today.
Despite a brief rain shower shortly after the lunch break, which left damp patches on the circuit from Turn 7 through to Turn 13, Miller managed to complete a total of 70 laps today.
Miller now heads home to Australia with his confidence restored and looking forward to making further improvements during the next MotoGP test at Phillip Island, which gets underway on 15th February.
Tito Rabat played no part in the final day of testing in Sepang after sustaining injuries in a heavy crash at Turn 11 yesterday afternoon. The Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider flew back to Europe overnight for treatment and a decision about his participation at Phillip Island will be made only once he has undergone a full medical assessment at the Dexeus Clinic in Barcelona.
Jack Miller: P16 – 2'00.439 – 70 Laps
“It's been a good three days here at Sepang for me. We've made more positive steps in terms of front-end feeling than we managed in the previous two years and, step-by-step, I was getting faster. We had a small problem with the bike during the long run, which was a real shame as I'm confident I could have improved my time by a significant amount with the soft tyres we'd kept back for the end of the day. But, overall, I'm happy with the new chassis and how the bike is working. Yes, we could have gone faster but the feeling is good and I'm looking forward to picking up where we left off here when we get to Phillip Island.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Today was a positive one for Jack. His biggest issue last year was a lack of front-end feeling at the point where he releases the brakes and gets back on the throttle mid-corner. It was this problem that caused most of his crashes in the past and it is where he and his crew have focussed their efforts during this test. Today we saw a big improvement in this area and that has boosted Jack's confidence in the bike. We still have a lot of work to do because we're not where we should be yet, but we have six more days of testing before Qatar and I'm confident we can close the gap to the frontrunners in that time. Tito is now back in Europe and will undergo a full medical assessment today. Only then will we be able to make a decision about his participation at Phillip Island.”