Top 10 for Rabat in dramatic Argentina battle
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Tito Rabat scored his first MotoGP World Championship top 10 at the conclusion of a dramatic two-part race at the Termas de Rio Hondo track in Argentina this afternoon.
The race was cut from 25 to 20 laps and turned into a flag-to-flag encounter, with riders given a three-lap window between laps nine and 11 to complete a mandatory pit stop to switch machinery in response to tyre endurance concerns.
Rabat brilliantly kept his composure in an incident-packed race to finish in ninth place after just failing to overcome Bradley Smith in a close battle on the final lap. The Spaniard spent much of the second half of the race dicing with Smith and Cal Crutchlow, and he is looking forward to putting the experience gained into good use at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin next weekend.
Australian Jack Miller produced a scintillating surge from 15th on the grid in the early stages to thrill a crowd of just over 50,000 fans with his all-action and aggressive riding style.
Miller swept by reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo into sixth place on lap three, but while pushing hard to make a break from the Spaniard he crashed unhurt a lap later at turn three. Miller’s disappointing result aside, the 21-year-old demonstrated in South America that he is capable of mixing it with the elite top group in MotoGP.
Tito Rabat: 9th
“It has been a very complicated weekend with the changing weather and track conditions and I think it was very positive outcome for us. In every session we improved the bike and I have gained experience of riding a MotoGP bike in the wet for the first time and the two-part race also gave me the opportunity to understand the flag-to-flag scenario. It was good in the race to make a lap behind Marquez to see how he is riding and where he is strong. In the last laps I really learned a lot when I was with Crutchlow and Smith and it gave me a great chance to understand where I can improve. It is more gaining more experience with my riding technique, so hopefully I can build on this first top 10 in Austin next weekend. Finally I want to say a big thanks to my team. They are giving me great support and we are making progress, which is the most important thing.”
Jack Miller: DNF
“I felt really good in the race and the track was in decent condition despite all the earlier rain. I felt comfortable and was pushing hard to try and make a break from Lorenzo when I lost the front in turn three. It didn’t quite work out this time and it is disappointing but there are plenty of positives to take from this weekend. We move on and try to show our potential in Austin.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“On one side we are happy to see Tito inside the top 10 for the first time in his MotoGP career but it was real pity that Jack crashed out while he was looking really strong inside the top six. It was great to see him fighting with Lorenzo and he was trying to make a gap and push and sometimes a crash can happen when you are pushing so hard. Overall Jack has shown big potential this weekend and he definitely has the pace to establish himself in the top 10. Tito did a great job as well because we saw how tricky the conditions were and it was his first experience of a flag-to-flag situation. He coped well and his first top 10 will give him a lot of confidence for the future.”