Another team that are keeping their rider line up consistent is the Marc VDS team, as Jack Miller and Tito Rabat spearhead the Marc VDS Honda outfit for the 2nd year running. An unexpected maiden victory for Miller in the tricky conditions at Assen was one of the highlights from 2016, whilst Rabat will be looking to get a solid season under his belt after a difficult start to his MotoGP career. Although for the second consecutive year, the team suffer from a far-from-fit line up. After Jack Miller’s foot and leg injury last year, Rabat has arm and collarbone injuries, meaning that it may be a case of making it through the first rounds for Rabat and not pushing to the absolute limits.
As we know, the Honda is certainly not the easiest bike on the grid to ride, however the aforementioned injuries picked up by the two youngsters haven’t helped with their preparations for this season. The new Honda “big bang” engine though has enabled Miller at least to become more comfortable on the bike, commenting on how the bike is now “more calm for the rider and you can focus on hitting the lines.”
A repeat victory in 2017? 2016 showed how the weather can allow for people like the Aussie to win races. Jack is still only 22 years old and he’ll be looking to impress further this year in the hope a factory ride will come calling sooner rather than later. His Spanish team mate is now 27 years old and after picking up a nasty injury to both arms and collarbones at the Sepang test, the start of 2017 looks like it will be tough for the former Moto2 world champion. Miller is entering his third season with a Honda under him and his 2nd with the Estrella Galicia outfit, meaning that he will be looking to beat the 57 points he scored last season. Rabat’s best finish of his MotoGP career was 9th at last year’s Argentine Grand Prix, his only top 10 in the whole season. Rabat may be out of time if things fail to change in 2017.
Unfortunately, I’m expecting another tough year for the Spaniard. I’m sure were all hoping he can stay injury free and challenge for some decent points every weekend, as we all now the talent he posses. As for Jackass, I feel he can certainly penetrate the top 10 on more than one occasion. If the weather throws up a surprise, expect the Aussie to be challenging for the the top six and maybe we can see him add to his sole victory.
The team itself is one that has fingers in many pies. CEV Junior Moto3 championship, Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP – there’s definitely a ladder that riders in the lower ranks can look forward to following. The question is for this season is whether the team can transfer the form from the lower classes into the premier class and give Rabat and Miller the results they deserve. One thing is for certain, if the team get another freak win, there will be a party long into the night, with the likes of Jack Miller in the team, there’d probably be a party anyway.
Elliott York @journoyork