Jack Miller looks to sweltering Sepang MotoGP
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Jack Miller and Tito Rabat will undergo the most demanding physical examination in the MotoGP World Championship this weekend when they encounter unforgiving heat and humidity at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
The penultimate round of the World Championship will be a complete contrast to the windy, cold and wet conditions that dominated proceedings last weekend in Australia.
Air temperatures frequently nudge an energy-sapping 40 degrees and track temperature can peak at well over 50 degrees during the Malaysian MotoGP weekend, which provides a unique challenge for both man and machine.
Miller heads to Kuala Lumpur looking to build on an excellent qualifying and race performance in his home round at Phillip Island.
The 21-year-old returned to the top 10 for the first time in Australia since the German Grand Prix in mid-July, which was a strong ride coming off the back of his best ever MotoGP qualifying result of fifth.
Miller took second place from pole position in the Moto3 category in Malaysia in 2014 and now free from injury he is optimistic he can fight for another top 10 in Sunday’s 20-lap race.
Teammate Tito Rabat has tested Honda’s RC213V machine at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, but information gathered during the three-day session in February could potentially be limited after the circuit was completely resurfaced with new asphalt and some turns undergoing modifications.
“I missed the winter test in Malaysia earlier this year but I don’t think it will be a major disadvantage because the track has changed a little and the surface is new. I’m happy there is new asphalt because the track was getting quite bumpy. I’m curious to see how some of the corners have changed but we should be able to figure it all out pretty quickly. Phillip Island was a solid race and hopefully I can have another exciting fight but with a better result.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“After the weather played such a significant role in Phillip Island, at least we can travel to Malaysia confident that it will be hotter and it can hopefully be a more normal weekend. It will be interesting to understand how the new surface impacts on the tyres and bike set-up and the layout is slightly different too. Jack will have taken a lot of confidence from his top 10 in Australia where he had a strong battle and I think he will be quickly up to speed and competitive, despite missing the pre-season test through injury. Tito has always been successful in Malaysia and we will never forget it was the track where he delivered the Moto2 title for us back in 2014. Hopefully he can regain some confidence and be competing for the points again.”
Super-fit Tito Rabat is ready for face Malaysia’s physical challenge head on after finishing just one place outside of the points in Australia.
The Spaniard always relishes the prospect of racing at the Sepang International Circuit after he was victorious in Moto2 there in 2013 and a second place a year later saw him crowned Moto2 World Champion.
“Hopefully the weather is going to be better in Malaysia than Australia! I need to make some practice in dry conditions because we need to learn about the new surface and what the track is like now some corners are slightly different. I tested the MotoGP bike in Sepang back in February and now we need to understand how much information we can use for the set-up with the new asphalt. I will try and figure out quickly how to go fast with this bike and hopefully we can make a step forward.”