Tito Rabat starts the European leg of what is currently his most successful MotoGP season holding ninth in the world championship and a close second to Jack Miller in the battle to be best Ducati GP17 rider.

After eleventh, seventh and eighth places in the season-opening flyaways, new Reale Avintia rider Rabat is just four points from Miller, after winning a last lap battle with the Australian in Austin.

Both former Marc VDS riders have impressed, with the only Ducati rider ahead of them in the standings being points leader Andrea Dovizioso. The other factory GP18s of Danilo Petrucci and Jorge Lorenzo are ranked tenth and 16th respectively.

Crucially, all Ducati riders took part in some private testing on the new Jerez surface last November, giving Rabat extra confidence for the first of his home rounds.

“We did a great start of the season so far and I’m very happy with my performance in the first three races. Now we arrive in Europe and we will find smaller and more technical circuits, so we will see how we go there," Rabat said.

"I head Jerez at 100% and looking forward for a good result, we did a good test back in November and we will start with a base set up. Racing at home is always special and the fans give you extra motivation, so we need to give our best to give them something to celebrate.”

The track will also be familiar to team-mate and MotoGP rookie Xavier Simeon, who is one of three riders - alongside Bradley Smith and Thomas Luthi - still to score in 2018.

“If I look back to my three first races in MotoGP I think that overall result has to be positive," said the Belgian.

"We learned many things, like set up the bike fast and get the best of the 45 minutes available in each free practice session, we learned to get decisions with the tyres, sometimes right, sometimes wrong, and we did improve the bike and my riding style.

"Now we go to Jerez, a track where I have some experience with the MotoGP bike and I want to improve further to get a good result on Sunday.”

 

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