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MotoGP Catalunya: Miller ‘in one piece and excited for tomorrow’

Ducati’s Jack Miller claimed a sensational front row start ahead of the CatalanGP after both fighting his way through from Q1 and high-siding in the second qualifying session.

The Bologna rider survived a fast turn three crash relatively unscathed in the closing stages of the final qualifier, after his Desmosedici flicked him off on his final hot-lap, with his previous effort comfortably enough for second position. He also had Marc Marquez to contend with throughout the opening 15-minutes, as the Repsol rider looked for assistance while making his bid for Q2 promotion.

“A pretty hectic day!” Miller said after qualifying.


“Starting out in the morning, I just wasn’t really able to do what I felt I could do when I put the tyre in, in FP3. Being 11th and with how tight everything was, Q1, well, you know what that’s like, but I was able to get out there and do what I needed to do.

“Then Q2 was going well, I only had the one tyre so I saved it for the end. I had that little wobble and I knew I had a little bit more in the tank but yeah, to have a highside at turn three isn’t too much fun. Happy to say I’m in one piece - which if you told me I was having a highside at turn three, I’d assume normally you wouldn’t be. It’s quite a fast spot but the leathers did their job and plus plenty of asphalt on the outside helps you just to slide off - hence the reason why the leathers look so torn up. Apart from that, the pace was fast, FP4 was perfect, so I’m excited for tomorrow.

“My pace was good in FP4. I did a 17-lap run, which, I don’t know why I did that but it felt good out there and I was able to do that,” he continued, honestly.

“I was able to keep in the ‘40s, okay, not ’39’s like Fabio [Quartararo], but I think tomorrow in the race, I’m normally able to find that little bit extra. I’m pretty happy with how our things work in a race distance. If you can go and do a 17-lap run in FP4 when you don’t really have to, it means it must be working alright. At least I’m having fun, so that’s a good thing!” he joked.

Q1 saw Marquez continue his mind games by waiting for the Ducati rider to leave his garage on both runs, before following him for an all-important tow. The tactic looked successful for the briefest of moments as the Honda rider claimed second, before Pol Espargaro, who had also joined the train, actually leapfrogged his teammate into the only other promotion spot on his way into the second session. Miller seemed unfazed by the entire situation as the pair initially ran parallel to each other while navigating pitlane, gesturing to the Spaniard that he needed paying for his services after the session.

“It doesn’t disturb me, it’s a mindset,” the laid-back Australian said with a shrug.

“If you go out there thinking only about the guy that’s behind you, you’re already lost. The most important thing I think, in this situation, something I’ve learned over the years, I need to focus on my job, what I’m doing and that’s it. If there’s another guy behind me, so be it, if there’s another three behind me, so be it. I don’t control this. At the end of the day, it’s a free world and he can follow whoever he wants but it was nice to at least make a little joke about it. We’ve all been in this situation, it’s not easy - at least I know I have, Fabio maybe not so much - but we’ve all been in this situation where you need a little something extra.”

Low grip and high tyre degradation is a renowned issue at the Catalunya circuit, with tyre choice for tomorrow’s 24-lap race still up in the air for many riders.

“The grip level I think has improved a little bit but also our setup’s improved quite a considerable amount” Miller explained.


“The biggest thing here, has always been managing the tyre. Here is more crucial than even in Mugello, with so many long right handers where you can get a little bit carried away with the throttle. The biggest thing is just having a relatively easy bike let’s say, something you don’t have to fight too much. We will see. I feel like I manage the tyre quite well and using the hard I felt quite comfortable with it - like you get a good reading of the tyre let’s say, of where the overspin is.

“Fabio rode fantastic last week and I was there but I couldn’t catch him. We started coming back towards him towards the end of the race but when you have a lead like he had, you can ride around smoking cigarettes and everything’s easy. For tomorrow’s race we need to be calm in the beginning but also I think my biggest concern is the front tyre, especially on the right edge. It seems to be getting a little bit more graining and it’s quite a hard tyre so I think, for me, my tactic will be to try and at least get a good start and try to keep some cooler air on the front tyre and we will see from there.”

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