Steady start for Rabat on first day at Sepang
Sepang, Malaysia – 01 February 2016: Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider, Tito Rabat, got his 2016 MotoGP campaign off to a solid start with a productive first day of testing at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
Rabat was the first rider out on track this morning, going on to complete 52 laps of the 5.5km Sepang circuit as he continued his familiarisation with the Honda RC213V on which he will contest the 2016 MotoGP World Championship.
It was the former Moto2 World Champion’s first outing at the Sepang circuit aboard a MotoGP bike and his first experience with the control ECU and unified software that is now mandatory in the premier class. Rabat opted to remain on the harder of the Michelin tyre options for the whole of the opening day, which he finished in 18th position with a time of 2’03.463.
Tomorrow Rabat and his crew will start the process of refining the set up of the Honda RC213V to better suit the 26-year-old’s riding style and the characteristics of the Sepang circuit.
Tito Rabat: 52 Laps – 2’03.463 (+2.779)
“Today was all about getting back the feeling with the bike after such a long time away from the track and with the new electronics package that we will use this season. At first the sensation was a little different to last year, but with more laps the feeling improved. The bike felt good, but we were focussed more on my riding rather than set up, as the lines here are very different on a MotoGP bike and the carbon brakes take some getting used to. Overall it was a good first day but, tomorrow, we need to up the workload and start improving the bike, refining the set up to suit more my riding style.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“I think today has been a positive start to the test, even if our position on the timesheet doesn’t really reflect this. It’s Tito’s first time at Sepang with the MotoGP bike, the team’s first time at this track with the Michelin tyres and the first time we’ve run the new electronics on the bike. Even with all these new variables, everything ran pretty smoothly and Tito was able to focus on learning his way around on the Honda RC213V, which required different lines to the Moto2 bike he’s used to, and adapting to the power and consistency of the carbon brakes. We stuck with the harder of the tyre options today, so we know we have something in hand when we do put the soft tyre into the bike, but more important than the lap time at this test is to get Tito comfortable and confident with the bike.”