Rabat and Miller get up to speed in Mugello
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Tito Rabat and Jack Miller encountered mixed conditions and mixed fortunes on the opening day of MotoGP practice at the majestic Mugello track in Italy.
Rabat was one of only 14 riders to post a time in an FP1 session this morning that was dominated by damp and cool conditions. Rabat only went out on the fast and flowing 5.2km track to familiarise himself with the challenging layout on Honda’s RC213V machine on Michelin’s rain tyres.
The groundwork put in by the Spaniard this morning paid off on a full dry track in FP2, with Rabat finishing in an encouraging 17th place after posting a best time of 1.49.648. The highlight of the first day for the double Mugello Moto2 winner was experiencing the adrenaline rush of hitting close to 340kph on the flat-out home straight.
Conscious of his recent injury problems, Australian Miller opted to sit out this morning’s session to adopt a risk-free start to round six of the 2016 World Championship campaign.
Miller finished just one place and 0.050s behind Rabat but his second practice session was spent searching for improved handling in Mugello’s fast changes of direction.
Tito Rabat: 17th – 1’49.648
“This is such a special track and I really love riding here but to experience the top speed in MotoGP on the start straight was something incredible. It is scary and fun at the same time! In the wet this morning I went out just to try and understand the track on a MotoGP bike and this afternoon I was happy with the progress I made in terms of the lap time. With more grip and better conditions tomorrow I think I can improve and I am looking forward to riding this amazing track again.”
Jack Miller: 18th – 1’49.698
“Unfortunately it has been a difficult start to the weekend and I’m struggling with the bike setting. You need a stable bike for the fast and flowing sections here and we are lacking a little bit of handling in the changes of direction. Each time I change direction the rear just steps out on me, but we have got some ideas on how to improve for tomorrow.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“The weather made it a complicated start to the weekend and we decided not to take any risks with Jack going out considering his recent injury problems. Tito went out for most of the session just to learn the track and get some references on a MotoGP bike, and he got good experience in mixed conditions and using rain tyres too. Tito was strong again this afternoon and until the final 10 minutes he was around 13th position, which is where I think he can normally be. Unfortunately he couldn’t improve on new tyres and we lost some places right at the end, which is not ideal but not as bad as it might look on the timesheets. Jack is struggling a bit with the set-up and he can’t find grip from the rear. Tito has grip so his side of the garage will help Jack to make some improvements tomorrow.”