1 October 2015
Official: Tito Rabat to MotoGP with Marc VDS
"The first time you ride this bike you just aren't prepared for it" - Tito Rabat.
Marc VDS will promote Tito Rabat to its MotoGP team for 2016.
The Spaniard, who gave the team it's first world title with victory in last year's Moto2 World Championship, will thus take over the RC213V vacated by Scott Redding.
"The objective of my life was to, first of all, arrive to MotoGP and then to make results in the premier class," Rabat said. "This is the first step and for that I would like to thank Marc van der Straten, the team and Estrella Galicia for this chance and their confidence in me.
"I know stepping up to MotoGP on the factory Honda RC213V isn't going to be easy, but I have all the winter to prepare, to make sure I'm strong and ready for preseason testing. It's going to be a steep learning curve, but the goal will be to improve step by step so that we're ready for the first race in Qatar.”
Team boss Marc van der Straten added: “I am happy to see Tito step up to race our MotoGP bike next season. His approach to racing, his work ethic and his determination to succeed are the same attributes on which our team was built.
"It is fitting that we should have a rider such as Tito in the premier class to act as the perfect role model for the younger riders making their way through our development program.
"To race at the very top level is never easy, but Tito has shown that he has the ability to adapt rapidly and his commitment to this project is absolute. I am confident he will do us proud next season.”
Rabat has already been given a taste of 2016 with an outing on Redding's RCV during Monday's Michelin test at Aragon.
That appearance had been unconvincingly described as a 'present' for winning last year's Moto2 title, but effectively confirmed that the 26-year-old would take over from the Englishman next season. The long awaited official announcement was then made today (Thursday).
“The test at Aragon aboard the factory Honda RC213V was an incredible experience," Rabat said. "The first time you ride this bike you just aren't prepared for it. There is so much speed, so hard acceleration and the corners arrive far too early! To be honest, it was the best experience you can have on a bike.
"Once I'd adapted to the speed, the power and the carbon brakes I was able to understand a little more how the bike works and go a little faster. I would like to have ridden for longer but, unfortunately, they wanted to close the track!”
All previous Moto2 champions had joined MotoGP the following season prior to Rabat, who opted to try and become the first double Moto2 title winner. However a distant second place in this year's standings means he is already on the verge of losing out to Johann Zarco.
Jack Miller is expected to move from LCR Honda to ride alongside Rabat in an expanded Marc VDS line-up, but as yet there is no official confirmation.
Redding, who claimed a shock podium in the dry-wet-dry Misano race, is joining Pramac Ducati next season.
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