Rabat rides to brilliant top 10 in Misano practice
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Tito Rabat enjoyed an incredibly positive start to the Misano MotoGP weekend, with the Spanish rider taking a stunning top 10 finish at the end of two free practice sessions today.
Rabat patiently built up his rhythm in FP1 this morning, which started on a 4.2km circuit still littered with some small damp patches after heavy overnight thunderstorms.
The former Moto2 World Champion then burst into life in ideal conditions this afternoon, as FP2 took place in warm and sunny weather that resulted in a dramatic improvement in lap times.
One of the main movers was Rabat, who knocked an impressive 1.4s off his best pace set this morning. A terrific flying lap of 1.33.820 placed Rabat in 10th position and he was just over half-a-second away from the best pace set by circuit specialist Danilo Petrucci.
Rabat’s stunning lap could prove essential if conditions are not dry for tomorrow’s FP3, as it means he will advance immediately into Q2 for only the second time in his MotoGP career.
The opening day of action on the sun-blessed Adriatic Coast proved to be a more challenging one for Jack Miller, who was unhurt in a small crash at the first corner in the second session.
While content with his pace in race trim, Miller was not able to improve his speed by as much as he’d anticipated in FP2 after he’d finished an encouraging 13th this morning. Further underlining the competitive nature of this year’s MotoGP World Championship, Miller may have found himself down in 18th place this afternoon, but he was only 1.1s off top spot.
Tito Rabat: 10th – 1’33.820
“Today has been a very positive one and we have been able to build on the good feeling we discovered with the bike at the last round in Silverstone. I have good confidence with the front-end and good rear grip, and this allows me to push harder without feeling so much on the limit. I felt very strong in FP2 and it is good to see myself in the top 10. You never know what can happen in MotoGP, particularly with the weather, so it is always important to try and get in a good lap time when you can. Even if it is dry for FP3 then let’s hope I can be fighting for the top 10 again because it would be great to get into Q2.
Jack Miller: 18th – 1’34.411
“I feel reasonably happy with how the bike is feeling today but you can see from the final position that there are some places we can improve. It seems of late that when the guys switch to the time attack at the end of the session they can find a bigger chunk of time than me. I’m only able to find a couple of tenths on a new tyre than my pace on a used medium option. My race pace is not bad but we’ll need to find some more speed in FP3 tomorrow morning to try and get into that top 10 for Q2. Hopefully it will be dry so we get a good crack at it.”
Diego Gubellini: Tito Rabat Chief Engineer
“We made a good step with Tito’s feeling on the bike with some modifications to the weight distribution in Silverstone. We wanted to help him have more trust from the rear tyre and it seems for Misano it was a good base to use as a starting point. Now we must refine some small details because the setting we now have doesn’t give us a lot more margin to make further adjustments. But it is a good way to start the weekend and a top 10 gives Tito and the team a good boost of confidence for the remainder of the weekend.”