MotoGP rookie Tito Rabat hopes to put a nightmare Qatar test behind him as the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider prepares for his premier class debut this weekend at the Losail International Circuit.
Rabat and team-mate Jack Miller were dogged by front end problems earlier in March at the final pre-season test, with Rabat's confidence taking a hammering after he came off four times on the Honda RC213V, with three of those spills occurring on the final day without warning.
His team has been working hard since in an effort to iron out the issues and Rabat is hopeful he can start afresh in opening practice on Thursday.
“The last day of the Qatar test wasn't a good one for us; too many crashes and a lack of confidence with the bike,” he said.
“Since then we've spent some time looking through the data and we think we've identified some areas in which we can improve the bike, which is positive for us.
“In myself I feel strong, ready to start the season and confident I can accelerate the learning process with more riders on track during the practice and qualifying sessions,” added the former Moto2 world champion.
“My goal for this first weekend is to improve with every session and then give it my best shot in the race on Sunday.”
Miller, meanwhile – who broke his leg in a motocross training accident in January – is also eager to make swift progress during free practice after struggling with similar problems in the Qatar test.
“We've had some time to go through the data from the Qatar test and we know where we need to improve the bike when we head back for the first race of the season,” said the Aussie.
“Since the test I've also had more time to work on my injured ankle and I have much more mobility in the joint now, which will definitely help this weekend. I'm feeling really good after a solid week of training and I'm looking forward to getting the new season started.”