Miller will start a fast fifth for home race at Phillip Island
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller will start the Michelin Australian Grand Prix from fifth position, his best ever MotoGP qualifying performance.
Home hero Miller delighted his Phillip Island fans with a scintillating display of speed in tricky conditions and was only bumped off a front-row start in the final seconds of qualifying.
Miller’s previous best starting position was 12th for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
The 21-year-old Australian is primed for a strong assault at his favourite circuit after a difficult period of injuries since his maiden MotoGP victory at Assen in June.
After two days of unpredictable weather ranging from heavy rain to sunny but very cool and windy conditions qualifying was run on a dry track.
But tyre choice was still critical with Miller making the most of the combination of intermediate front and slick rear Michelin tyres.
Miller’s Spanish teammate Tito Rabat had a tough introduction to his first MotoGP race at the super-fast seaside circuit with the variable weather conditions.
Rabat had very little dry track running before qualifying and took a cautious approach after a high-speed crash in the morning FP3 session.
Tomorrow’s 27-lap race is round 16 of the MotoGP World Championship.
Jack Miller: 5th – 1'31.754
“It’s a good starting position but I’m not totally satisfied because I could have done a better time if I had not run onto the kerb on the exit of the final corner. There was some water there and I had a lot of wheelspin and lost a lot of time. But I feel good for my home race, I’m starting a lot closer to the front than I usually do. The weather is always unpredictable so you can’t believe the forecast of a dry race but I’m ready for anything. Wait and see.”
Tito Rabat: 21st – 1'44.096
“It has been a very difficult weekend in these conditions and not helped by my very fast crash this morning in FP3. It is not easy to switch between the wet and dry conditions at this track. I tried to push to my maximum in qualifying and all I can do now is look forward in a positive way to the race.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Jack was very impressive especially as we perhaps missed the chance to switch to a slick Michelin front tyre for his final exit. More importantly he has been fast in both wet and dry conditions and we are looking for a very strong race from him tomorrow. Tito is struggling lot with the changing conditions and adapting from the wet to the dry with limited time on slick tyres. Tito’s potential was perhaps a little higher although it is not easy here for the first time in MotoGP.”