Felice Monteleone – FMPhotoSport MotoGP News
Team Estrella Galicia 00 Marc VDS MotoGP team, GP of Qatar Preview
Let battle commence: Rabat and Miller head to Qatar
Gosselies, Belgium – 14 March 2016: After an intensive preseason test program, the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS pairing of Tito Rabat and Jack Miller head back to Qatar this week, to finally kick off their 2016 MotoGP campaigns.
Rabat and Miller will be hoping to make a significant step forward with the Honda RC213V this weekend, after enduring a difficult three days of testing at the Losail International Circuit earlier this month.
Both riders complained of a lack of confidence in the front tyre, but it was Rabat who was worst affected, crashing four times over the course of the test, with three of those crashes coming on the final day. The crashes came with no warning, which significantly dented the former Moto2 World Champion’s confidence.
Both crews have been working tirelessly since the test to identify the cause of the issues and they head to the Middle East with a number of possible solutions, which they will evaluate during free practice on Thursday and Friday.
Sunday’s Grand Prix of Qatar will mark Miller’s race debut for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS, while for Rabat it will be his first MotoGP race since stepping up from Moto2 to the premier class at the end of the 2015 season.
“The last day of the Qatar test wasn’t a good one for us; too many crashes and a lack of confidence with the bike. Since then we’ve spent some time looking through the data and we think we’ve identified some areas in which we can improve the bike, which is positive for us. In myself I feel strong, ready to start the season and confident I can accelerate the learning process with more riders on track during the practice and qualifying sessions. My goal for this first weekend is to improve with every session and then give it my best shot in the race on Sunday.”
“We’ve had some time to go through the data from the Qatar test and we know where we need to improve the bike when we head back for the first race of the season. Since the test I’ve also had more time to work on my injured ankle and I have much more mobility in the joint now, which will definitely help this weekend. I’m feeling really good after a solid week of training and I’m looking forward to getting the new season started.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“After such a difficult test in Qatar earlier this month, I’m sure both Tito and Jack are a little apprehensive now we’re heading back there for the first race of the season. We need to find a solution to the problems they had during the test and we need to do it quickly. Nothing knocks a rider’s confidence more than crashing without understanding why, so it’s critical we start rebuilding that confidence from the first free practice session. Since the test our technical people have been working hard to identify possible solutions and I’m confident that we’ll see a significant improvement this weekend.”