Texas starts tough for Miller and Rabat
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Jack Miller and Tito Rabat experienced a difficult start to practice for this weekend’s MotoGP encounter at the breathtaking Circuit of the Americas in Texas.
The opening day at the 5.5km Austin track was a bruising affair for Miller, who fell heavily exiting turn 18 in this morning’s FP1.
The Australian underwent precautionary X-rays to check the high-speed crash had not damaged the right leg he broke in a pre-season motocross training accident.
Miller was declared fit for this afternoon’s second session and he showed bravery above and beyond the call of duty to complete 11 laps around arguably the most physical track on the 18-round World Championship campaign.
His heroic effort was rewarded with an improvement in lap time by over a second to place him 20th on the combined timesheets.
Spanish rider Tito Rabat had a promising FP1 session to finish only 0.7s away from the top 10 in 15th position.
The former Moto2 World Champion was unable to make expected progress in much hotter conditions this afternoon, with track temperature soaring from 25 to 38 degrees, which left Rabat struggling to find optimum rear grip under acceleration.
Jack Miller: 20th – 2’06.777
“It was a real shame to start the weekend off with a big crash like I had this morning. I had a good feeling on the first exit and then put in a new tyre on my second bike and I just didn’t generate enough heat in the rear before I started to push. I ended up crashing and it is a big shame because this is one of my favourite tracks and I’d already shown I’ve got some speed here. My right leg is pretty painful and I’ll work closely with the Clinica Mobile staff to help make me as comfortable as I can be to try again tomorrow and push hard for qualifying.”
Tito Rabat: 21st – 2’07.044
“I was very happy with FP1 this morning because I was in my best position so far at the end of the first session and not so far from the top 10. But this afternoon I had a bad feeling on the bike. I was struggling in acceleration with a lot of wheelspin and I just wasn’t fast enough. We are looking to see how we can improve for tomorrow and I am sure we can be stronger.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“After a very long journey to Texas we were hoping that today would have a better outcome. Jack had a very big crash this morning and it is clear he is struggling with some pain in his right foot and leg. He can only make a few laps and it is not easy for him on a track that is so tough on the body with the changes of direction and hard braking points. Tito didn’t have a good feeling with the bike and he was struggling to accelerate out of the corner. He will work hard with his crew overnight to try and find a solution with the set-up that allows him to be more competitive.”