Miller makes flying start to milestone Jerez MotoGP round
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller made a sensational start to the Spanish MotoGP round in Jerez today, with the Australian finishing in the top three in two practice sessions run in contrasting conditions.
Cool, wet and windy conditions greeted the paddock this morning for the start of FP1, as the MotoGP field kicked off preparations for the historic 3000th Grand Prix on Sunday.
Miller is recognised as one of the most accomplished wet weather riders in MotoGP after he stormed to a stunning success in last June’s Dutch TT at the legendary Assen track. And his skill and finesse in wet conditions quickly came to prominence in the opening 45-minute session when he set third best time to finish just 0.2s behind the best pace.
This afternoon’s second session started under dry and cloudy skies, but the early challenge was safely negotiating numerous damp patches that were scattered around the 4.4km track.
Track conditions improved throughout the session and Miller took advantage of a fully dry surface to log a stunning lap of 1’39.964 that put him in a brilliant second place overall. It was Miller’s best lap of the Jerez track and gives him great confidence that he can secure a fourth successive top 10 finish of the season in Sunday’s 27-lap race.
Tito Rabat dedicated most his time on track this morning to gaining more confidence in wet conditions and he was satisfied to lap close to two seconds off the best pace.
Unwilling to take too many risks on a drying track this afternoon, Rabat ended the day in 17th position but confident he can make big progress in improving on his best pace of 1’41.165.
Jack Miller: 2nd – 1’39.964
“I felt really comfortable on the bike in the wet this morning and was happy to be battling inside the top three. The start of this afternoon’s session was a bit tricky because there were still quite a few damp patches around. But at the end it was completely dry and I was happy with my lap time. I did a 1’39.964 and that’s my best lap here at Jerez. I did that time alone as well and I just feel confident and comfortable with how the bike is behaving around this track. I’ve got some great feeling from the front end and I can put the bike where I want to without being too close to the limit. It’s a brilliant way to start the weekend and hopefully we can build on this for a strong result on Sunday.”
Tito Rabat: 17th – 1’41.165
“I was lacking a bit of confidence in the wet conditions this morning and we had to make a lot of changes to the set-up, in particular the electronics. We made a lot of progress though with the bike performance in the rain, so I think we can be more optimistic about our potential in these conditions again in the future. I had a good feeling in FP2 but I was surprised at the pace in the early laps. Some people were going crazy because there were a lot of damp patches and it was quite dangerous in parts, so I tried to stay calm. I took a few more risks on the final run but there was no meaning to push too hard in those conditions. We have picked up a few good pointers for the set-up today and I am sure with better weather we can go faster over the rest of the weekend.”
Ramon Aurin: Jack Miller Chief Engineer
“Today has been very positive for us with Jack inside the top three in very different conditions in the two sessions. We came to Jerez to test last November and that has helped because we have some good information for the set-up of the bike. But Jack is feeling very confident right now and I think that showed today. His confidence has been growing with the three top 10 finishes in the first three races and today was the perfect way to build on that momentum gained so far. We know Jack is strong in the wet, but it was still good to see him showing that this morning to finish the wet FP1 in the top three. The target for tomorrow is to get into the top 10 and go straight into Q2. It will be difficult but right now we are happy and optimistic for the remainder of the weekend.”