Confidence boost for Miller at comeback race in Japan
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller will start the Japanese Grand Prix from 14th on the grid after a confidence boosting performance in qualifying.
Miller bounced back from two crashes in the morning free practice session to post his fastest time of the weekend so far with a best lap of 1'46. 347.
The performance reflected an improvement in set-up for front-end feel, which is crucial for the heavy braking forces at the stop-go 4.8km Twin Ring Motegi.
Tomorrow's 24-lap Japanese GP will be just the second race for Miller since he splashed his way to victory in the rain-hit Dutch TT at Assen in June.
In the 16 weeks since that superb maiden MotoGP win the 21-year-old Australian has missed four races, competing only in the German and British Grands Prix.
While recovering from back and hand fractures Miller has missed crucial track time aboard his Honda RC213V and his strong qualifying session shows he is getting back to his best.
Spanish rider Tito Rabat is also in a positive mood after qualifying 18th and just 0.3 slower than teammate Miller after a series of positive set-up changes to help overcome the rear grip issues he suffered in Friday practice.
The Japanese Grand Prix is round 15 of the MotoGP World Championship.
Jack Miller: 14th – 1'46.347
“It was nice to find some confidence in the front-end set-up for qualifying, the FP3 session was a bit of a disaster with a couple of crashes when I wasn't even pushing for a time. It meant that the FP4 session and qualifying were both crucial for me and we found some extra speed in both sessions and hopefully we can carry this forward into the race. I'm still not totally happy but after missing a few races it is relief to know that physically I'm OK and that we have some margin in the front-end and can push for a good race result.”
Tito Rabat: 18th – 1'46.753
“I am happy with both free practice and qualifying because we are positives steps forward with the feel and set-up of the bike. I did two laps in the 1'46s in qualifying and this makes me confident that I can do a strong race.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Today was a big improvement from both Jack and Tito with times in the 1'46s and the team did an excellent job of checking all the data to improve the set-up on both bikes. It was positive step froward from Friday and I think shows that both riders are capable of scoring some nice points in the race.”