Jack Miller keen to get underway at Phillip Island MotoGP Test
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS is represented only by Jack Miller at the Phillip Island MotoGP test after Tito Rabat was forced to withdraw as a result of injuries sustained in his crash at Sepang.
Miller was keen to get the Phillip Island test underway, after a positive three days last time out in Sepang. The Australian made a significant step forward with the set up of his Honda RC213V in Malaysia, finally finding the feeling with the front that has eluded him since he stepped up to the premier class in 2015.
“We arrive in Australia off the back of a successful three days in Sepang and the aim is to continue to build on what we achieved there. The lap times in Malaysia didn’t really reflect the step forward we made with the front, because I didn’t get a chance to throw in a soft tyre and go for it at the end, but the improvement was significant. Finally I had the front end feel that I’ve been missing and that was a massive boost to the confidence. Now we have to make the next step and close the gap to the quick guys at the top of the time sheet. I’m feeling fitter than ever after more training at home and I’m looking forward to the next three days at what is definitely the best track on the MotoGP calendar.”
The first official test of the year saw the class of MotoGP 2017 out in force at Sepang International Circuit recently, and actions resumes soon at Phillip Island in Australia from February 15th-17th as the countdown to Qatar gets shorter.
Michael Bartholemy – Team Principal
“Jack made a bit of a breakthrough with the set up of the bike in Malaysia, but there is still a lot of work to do if he is to realise his true potential this season. We need to be closer to the top of the timesheet and this will be the goal for Jack and his crew this week in Australia. Tito has worked hard to be fit for the Phillip Island test, after sustaining quite debilitating injuries in Malaysia. While the fractures have healed nicely and wouldn’t have stopped him from riding in Australia, the knee injury is a different story altogether. Despite intensive physiotherapy he still doesn’t have the necessary extension in the joint and he risks popping the stitches – with the associated danger of infection – if he participates in the Phillip Island test. This is why we made the decision together with Tito to give him more time to recover ahead of the Qatar test, rather than risking everything for little gain by having him ride injured in Australia. This is the right decision for him and for the team.”
Malaysia saw new Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Maverick Viñales go fastest, with Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) also well up the timesheets as 2017 threatens on the horizon. Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) made great progress up from P17 to get below the two-minute barrier and into the top ten as he settled into life on the Desmosedici, and there was a standout performance from Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) as he got used to the GP16 Ducati.
There were also some interesting changes up and down pitlane including Ducati – with the rear of the bike redesigned slightly and the exhaust shifted – and Yamaha – with Valentino Rossi testing a design with “internal” winglets as the external, traditional designs used throughout 2016 are outlawed.
Sepang, with two long straights and a good variety of corners, presents a different challenge to the flowing and fast Phillip Island. So the Australian track’s key benefits as a test venue are two-fold: that lack of similarity to Sepang, and its unique characteristics that necessitate tyre testing. Some teams, like Movistar Yamaha, intend to use the test more as a data-gathering exercise ahead of the paddock’s return to the venue to race. Others just want maximum track time ahead of the first Grand Prix in order to make the most of the pre-season – especially given the weather at the first test in Sepang, which limited running on some days.
After a first glimpse in Malaysia, three days of testing is now underway in Australia, the second and penultimate pre-season test before the lights go out at Losail International Circuit for the first Grand Prix of the year.