Rabat in the points in wet Motegi race
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Tito Rabat finished an impressive fifteenth to score a world championship point in today’s wet and slippery Japanese Grand Prix.
The 24-lap race at the Twin Ring Motegi was run in steady rain and low visibility, which required a huge physical and mental effort just to finish.
Rabat was swamped in spray in the early laps after starting19th on the grid but by lap five had moved into 15th and began a long duel against Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Scott Redding.
Late in the race this trio were joined by Hector Barbera with Rabat dropping back to 16th but securing 15th position on the final lap just behind Barbera, with Redding squeezed out of the points at the flag.
Home hero Hiroshi Aoyama, having his first MotoGP outing in 12 months as replacement for the injured Jack Miller, finished 18th in the rain-lashed race.
Aoyama’s race ended in disappointment with the Japanese star struggling with rear grip issues right from the start. Aoyama had hoped his experience with the Honda RC213V at Motegi would have allowed him to deliver a much better result.
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS now moves to Australia for the second of three fly-away races at Phillip Island where they will welcome back Jack Miller his home race.
Tito Rabat: 15th
“It was a difficult weekend, always wet and very cold but it was good opportunity to improve my riding style in the wet especially in braking. I gave 100% but to go faster was very high risk in these conditions and I almost crashed twice on the rear when opening the gas. In racing you have to take any gift and this one point in Motegi is a good reward and I’m now very motivated to go to Australia next week.”
Hiroshi Aoyama: 18th
“I am very disappointed because I don’t know what happened in the race, I didn’t have any rear grip, nothing. In a wet race I thought with my experience I could get a good result here in Motegi but it was not possible. On the second lap I almost crashed, I had very big moment and even though I saved it I lost a lot of time so my race was already over. It was pity because the team worked hard for a good result. I want to thank the team for this opportunity, it was not easy to come in for one race to replace Jack.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“In these conditions it was important for Tito to finish in the points so a positive feeling for the first of the fly-away races before going to Australia. I just hope the weather conditions are better in Phillip Island. It was difficult race for Hiroshi but I am happy he could replace Jack and I want to thank him for doing that and even in these conditions he was able to finish the race. Jack has been home in Townsville but will be back for Phillip Island and he has been out cycling and his fitness is coming back. We look forward to a nice weekend with Jack at his home race.”