Strong start for Miller at Phillip Island
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller got his Phillip Island test off to a flying start, with a time of 1'30.426 putting him ninth on the timesheet and less than a second off the top spot at the end of the opening day.
Warm and sunny weather greeted the riders as they arrived at the Phillip Island circuit to start the first of three days of testing this morning. Conditions would have been perfect for testing were it not for the gusting wind that is so often an issue at one of the most exposed tracks on the MotoGP calendar.
Miller was quickly up to speed once testing got underway, ending the first hour in eighth position as he continued the work started in Sepang on improving feedback from the front tyre. The Australian also tested new front forks from Öhlins with positive results.
The Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider progressed to fifth before the lunch break, during which his crew made suspension and geometry changes ahead of the afternoon session.
The wind picked up considerably during the afternoon, causing problems for all the riders through the ultra-fast turn three. A fifth gear corner under normal conditions, the strength of the headwind meant that it had to be negotiated in fourth gear and Miller was struggling to get the bike turned as the wind tried to push him wide.
Miller took advantage of a slight drop in the wind during the final 20 minutes to push for a fast lap on the soft tyre, improving by two-tenths to finish the opening day ninth on the timesheet and just 0.929s off the top spot.
The Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider declared himself happy with the progress made today and confident of further improvements tomorrow.
Jack Miller: 9th – 1'30.426 – 80 Laps
“We started today with a slightly different set up to Sepang because Phillip Island is a very different circuit, but the good feeling with the front remained. We managed to improve this further with new front forks from Öhlins and we tried a few things with the front to quicken up the steering, sacrificing a little bit of braking stability in the process, but that isn't so important here. The wind was a bit of a problem this afternoon, especially through the faster turns, but it had dropped just enough to allow me to put in my fastest lap right at the end of the session. Today we had the pace, but tomorrow we need to improve the consistency if we are to close the gap to the front. Overall, a good day and I'm looking forward to more of the same tomorrow.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Jack seems to have picked up where he left off at Sepang, despite the Phillip Island circuit placing very different demands on both rider and machine. For him to be on the pace at two very different tracks is very positive, not to mention another boost to his rapidly increasing confidence. And he looks confident on the bike, much more so than last year. The gap to the front was under one second, but Jack didn't manage to string together his best sectors in one lap today. If he can do that tomorrow then he can reduce this gap further. Overall I'm satisfied with the result today and I'm confident of further improvements tomorrow if conditions remain the same.”