Rabat qualifies tenth for Italian GP at hot and sunny Mugello
With his best ever MotoGP qualifying performance Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Tito Rabat has claimed a top ten starting spot for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix.
At a sun-kissed Mugello circuit Rabat posted a time of 1’47.282 to qualify tenth on the fourth row in the final Q2 session. He missed a front-row spot by just over four tenths of a second.
Rabat ramped up the pace today after his team made major set-up changes to his Honda RC213V and the Spaniard hit top form in the hot and sunny conditions at the 5.24km Tuscany circuit.
The performance came on the back of Rabat’s strong and consistent pace in the Saturday morning FP3 session when he was sixth fastest, which put him into the crucial Q2 session for the first time.
Australian rider Jack Miller has taken time to adapt to the new specification Michelin front tyre introduced at this race with his pace not helped by lingering discomfort in his right hand, an injury suffered in Le Mans two weeks ago.
A lack of braking power and confidence with front feeling finally took a positive turn in FP4 with Miller’s crew chief Ramon Aurin making important geometry changes to the front set-up.
Miller is confident he has now made a step forward with his preparation for the 23-lap race, with his qualifying lap of 1’47.961 his fastest of the weekend so far.
Tito Rabat: – 1’47.282
“I am very happy with today, we had a strong performance in both practice sessions and then qualifying. I learnt a lot today and now I just want to focus on carrying this forward to the race and get a good result. We made a lot of changes from Friday practice and now I am much more comfortable. The plan for the race is to go full gas from the fourth row and don’t think too much!”
Jack Miller: 19th – 1’47.961
“It has been a difficult start to the weekend. I’ve been pushing really hard with this new front tyre and I think we found a good feeling in FP4 and then in the Q1 session made some further progress. I think missing the test in Barcelona last week cost us set-up time. In practice on Friday and this morning I could not push the front enough, I was sliding in the corners. We’ve made a lot of geometry changes and my crew chief Ramon has some more ideas for the race. Finally it was nice to crack into the 1’47s.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“When I saw Tito’s sixth position in FP3 I was a little surprised but it was a very good performance. I think the risks his team have taken to change the set-up of the bike compared to yesterday has paid-off. While the team made some good choices the rider still has to deliver on the track and Tito did a perfect job, he looks strong for the race. I’m a little disappointed for Jack, this is not the position he should be in, and I hope we can find some solutions to allow him to go top ten in the race.”