Tito Rabat continued his best ever start to a MotoGP season with a fighting eighth place in Sunday's COTA round.

Combined with 11th and 7th in the previous rounds, the new Avintia Ducati rider will head for the start of the European season holding ninth in the world championship and almost triple the points compared to a year ago.

Rabat spent much of the Austin race in a tussle with former Marc VDS Honda team-mate Jack Miller, now also on a GP17 Desmosedici at the rival Pramac team.

The Spaniard won the contest after a last-lap pass on the Australian to finish as the second-best Ducati behind only world championship leader Andrea Dovizioso (GP18), in sixth.

“I am very happy with our first three races of the season, with the great work my team is doing and with the performance of my Ducati," Rabat said.

"We had another very good weekend, despite the fact that the track conditions in practice were difficult and we only had good conditions in FP2.

"We took a risk with our tyre choice for the race and the gamble worked out. It was a lot of fun.

"At the beginning, I struggled to get past Bradley Smith und later, it was a real thrill to ride with Lorenzo, Rins and Miller.

"In the end, I had a great battle with Jack and I managed to pass him in the final lap. This result gives me another boost for our home race in Jerez”.

Rookie team-mate Xavier Simeon was just 20th at the flag, albeit ahead of reigning Moto2 champion Franco Morbidelli.

“On one side I am happy and on the other side I’m frustrated, because we followed in line with the other Ducatis, with the hard tyre compound on the rear, that I had never tried in practice," Simeon said.

"We thought this would be a good choice, but at the beginning of the race I didn’t have a lot of confidence. Later on I managed to speed up and I had the same pace as the guys riding within the Top 15.

"It was a weekend to gain experience and in which we had a decent rhythm at times. every time I go out, I enjoy riding this bike more, but I still ride with a safety margin to avoid mistakes. Now at Jerez we will try to make another step."






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