Ducat Lenovo’s Jack Miller was leading the way as the final hour of testing at Mandalika got underway on Friday before ending the action sixth overall.
The Australian seemed to be throughly enjoying MotoGP’s newest venue despite the tricky conditions Indonesia’s tropical weather and recently completed track surface threw up.
“The grip level was getting better and better lap by lap,” Miller explained having finished work on Friday. "You can quite clearly see the track was just getting this nice clean line but outside of it. I was just saying to Alex [Rins] between 11 and 12 when it sort of changes over, I was sort of trying to prepare one lap a little bit wider entry and just try to sweep through, and as I did it just was on the dirty stuff and it went away. Pretty much that sums up most of the day but I think it was good.
“I'm glad everybody got out and got amongst it because that's what the track needed. It wasn't gonna get any better. It's one of those things, if it was a race weekend, that's it, that's how it is and that's how it is, for example, when we come to somewhere like Argentina that doesn't get used very much throughout the year. It will be the same here I think, but as we saw lap by lap the track was getting better and better. It was a lot of fun there at the end. I was really enjoying myself all day.”
“It's very wide, you almost get lost at some points but it's got a bit of everything,” he continued on the brand-new 4.3kms layout. “There's some blind crests and stuff like that. That triple right, five/six/seven and then the really fast change of direction over eight/nine is fantastic.
"It uses every ounce of your strength to try and muscle the thing over and then back over again while trying to get on the gas. It's a whole heap of fun and an awesome, awesome layout. Even just going through that section and have the big mountain on the inside, it's kind of cool. It's definitely a unique track.”
With the opening day delayed due to red flags and track conditions, Friday certainly threw up some surprises for the premier class riders.
“Definitely the dust,” Miller confirmed on the most unpredictable issues faced on day one. “I've been running this track all week and I didn't expect it to be like that. I don't know where it came from, if it was lying dormant in the asphalt but yeah, it was kind of strange this morning.
“When Pecco [Bagnaia] and I went out, when it was quite wet, we were able to go pretty quick immediately and Zarco. We were able to go relatively quick and nobody else, like it got worse and worse as the laps went on. When the track was drying out there stopped being so much water and there started becoming like mud on the track almost. It was like slimy, just turn two you come in with understeer and you were like 'What?' The bike was just floating and you didn't know what it was. We got to get back underway, it took a bit to clean that all off with the help of all the bikes out there but now there's a beautiful clean line. But it's quite treacherous if you drop a wheel off it, it feels almost like you're riding in the wet out there throughout the day because you have this beautiful clean dry line and then you have the dusty line on the outside and you just start floating. I saw a couple of boys go down just by touching just the outside, I watched Bezzecchi and Di Giannantonio go down and then my teammate in the following corner. So it wasn't ideal conditions today for testing but I think we're on for a good couple of days now that the tracks clean. We actually got to get through a couple little items there this afternoon.
“I think it's just getting faster and faster,” Miller said on the weekend’s potential. “It's hard to say exactly what the benchmark is at the moment because the track still doesn't feel fantastic. The corners where there's one line to go through the corner, like two/three, it was cleaning up really good but there's like 60 different lines into the second last corner so it's all spread out but it was getting cleaner and cleaner as the day went on so I think there's a lot of time there. There's a lot of time in the third sector as well. We'll have to wait and see but it should be good.”