MotoGP GP of the Americas – COTA
A rainshower that came down on the Circuit of the Americas on Saturday morning made things complicated for Tito Rabat, who had planned to attack in FP3 with the aim of moving directly to Q2. But with lower track temperatures and conditions that were far from perfect, the rider of Reale Avintia Racing just managed to match his Friday times and could not improve. Later on in Q1, Rabat was one of the fastest riders and held third place after his first time attack. On his final assault on the two top spots, he had a big moment with a front end of his bike. He saved himself from crashing, but ran out of time to clock another fast lap. He will start from 14th place on the grid on Sunday full of confidence to be able to recover, since the track temperatures are expected to rise again and he has a good rhythm in dry conditions.
Xavier Simeon was satisfied with his performance on Saturday. Even though it does not reflect in his grid position, the Belgian rider found a much better set-up and felt comfortable aboard his Ducati. En Q1, his tyre choice could have been better, but nevertheless he expects to be able to put up a fight in the race and to keep learning in his third MotoGP race.
“It was a difficult day and we suffered a lot in these conditions. We also went wrong with our tyre choice in the morning, because we thought we would be faster with the soft compound in cooler conditions, which was not the case. In FP4, we went out with the only tyres we still had available and it didn’t go well either. Then we found back to our speed in Q1 and I went fast, but in the end I wasn’t rewarded: The front end tucked away and I missed out on moving to Q2 by a few fractions of a second. But nevertheless, I am confident for the race because the summer heat that will return tomorrow suits us very well”.
“The second day was much more positive and the changes to my seating position on the bike helped me a lot to be more competitive. Everything seems to be easier now and I really hoped to do much better in Q1. We saw yesterday that several riders went fast with the hard rear tyre compound so we decided to go out with this tyre for my final run. But this was a mistake and with the softer compound we couldn’t get the maximum out of the bike either. But I am calm, because all of this adds to our experience in this category and we now know exactly what to do on Sunday. It will be a tough race, because this circuit is physically very demanding on a MotoGP bike”.