In the MotoGP class at the 2016 season finale at the Gran Premio Motul de la Communitnt Valenciana, the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS team had double success. Both riders finished the race, Jack Miller in the points, and Tito Rabat finished as ‘Rookie of the Year’.
Rabat is the MotoGP ‘Rookie of the Year’
Being the only rookie in the class, it was his from the start, but that should not take any credit away from his achievements this year. He has finished most races in his primary season as a MotoGP rider, after being promoted up from the Moto2 at the end of the 2015 season.
Miller finished the last race of the 2016 season in 15th, claiming the final point available. It came following several battles on track with various riders. Miller started from 15th on the grid, but during the race, he ended up struggling with grip. He was one of only three riders who made a seemingly daring choice opting for the hard compound front Michelin Power Slick; Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) who crashed out and 2016 MotoGP champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) were the other two with the same choice. All riders had opted for the soft compound rear Michelin Power Slick.
Miller in the points in Valencia
The last point that Miller collected in Valencia meant he overall ended up with 57 points which left him 18th in the 2016 MotoGP championship standings. Miller'sfirst MotoGP win earlier in the year in Assen contributed greatly to his success; he became on of nine differnt winners in the 2016 MotoGP season.
This year however was a learning curve for rookie Rabat who will have gained an awful lot of knowledge and experience from his first year in the class. He managed to collect 29 points throughout the year and finished his first championship in 21st (not last).
Not the result Miller wanted
Miller admitted that 15th was “not the result [he] wanted” however as he had “struggled from the beginning of the race wit a full fuel load” it meant that he was unable to “push as hard” as he wanted. It also benefited the riders ahead who “got a gap” and he found that “by the time [he] got some pace mid-race”, just as Marquez found with his front tyre, “it was too late”.
He spoke of how “towards the end” that he “struggled with wheelspin” and also found he struggled with the “downshifts into turn one”. However, he was “happy to bring it home in the points”. He is now looking forward to the test in Valencia, that comes two days after the race, where they are planning to “try some new parts for next year”.
Rabat’s priority was to finish the race
Rabat revealed that his “priority was not to crash and finish the race” and so he felt it had been a “positive end to the season” for him, especially as he said he has “learnt a lot”. He spoke of how he “had a good feeling after a couple of laps” and he found that he was “able to make a god pace”, however he described “as the tyres went down” that he “lost some feeling”.
Still, he explained how he “had a good battle with Kallio, Baz and finally Laverty”, he admitted that they “touched a couple of times in the final laps”. He mentioned how he “stayed calm and confident” and also “understood where [he] can make improvements in the future”. He too spoke of how he is now “looking forward to the test on Tuesday to begin preparations for next season”.