Tito Rabat was pleased with the feeling of his Honda RC213V on day one of testing at Sepang despite finishing down in eighteenth place. The 2014 Moto2 champion is making his premier class debut this year with Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS and spent Monday’s running acclimatising to the 2016-spec ECU and Michelin tyres combination.
With that work complete, Rabat is now looking at days two and three as an opportunity to improve the set-up of his Honda and climb the leaderboard.
“Today was all about getting back the feeling with the bike after such a long time away from the track and with the new electronics package that we will use this season. At first the sensation was a little different to last year, but with more laps the feeling improved. The bike felt good, but we were focused more on my riding rather than set up, as the lines here are very different on a MotoGP bike and the carbon brakes take some getting used to. Overall it was a good first day but, tomorrow, we need to up the workload and start improving the bike, refining the set up to suit more my riding style.”
Team Principal Michael Bartholemy was also happy with the work carried out and believes Rabat will quickly pick up the pace.
“I think today has been a positive start to the test, even if our position on the timesheet doesn’t really reflect this. It’s Tito’s first time at Sepang with the MotoGP bike, the team’s first time at this track with the Michelin tyres and the first time we’ve run the new electronics on the bike. Even with all these new variables, everything ran pretty smoothly and Tito was able to focus on learning his way around on the Honda RC213V, which required different lines to the Moto2 bike he’s used to, and adapting to the power and consistency of the carbon brakes. We stuck with the harder of the tyre options today, so we know we have something in hand when we do put the soft tyre into the bike, but more important than the lap time at this test is to get Tito comfortable and confident with the bike.”