Jack Miller completed an all-Ducati top three after free practice at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli on Friday.
The Australian’s 1’31.702 final lap of FP2 sat just 0.071s behind his Lenovo teammate and narrowly under two-tenths adrift of Enea Bastianini’s outright target on the GP21 as Ducati dominated the standings across the opening day.
“The bike, myself, I feel good,” Miller said of his Friday performance on the Adriatic Coast. “Misano is a track I've always liked coming to but haven't had the luck really on my side too much. The pace is there immediately from the get go this morning.
“I didn't feel the most comfortable, let's say, rolling out this morning. The track's pretty bumpy and just trying to get the setting right took a little bit longer, whereas the last couple of tracks we've been pretty much spot on.
“Every time we came in and out of the box or just doing laps, I was able to understand what the bike was doing and understand where I could improve and yeah, we made headway. The pace is there, the tyres are working really well, I understood the hard front's working really well - just depends on temperature for Sunday - and the medium rear seems to be a decent candidate. We'll try the soft tomorrow morning if the weather permits, just to try and understand how that's working over race distance. But it was a positive Friday for us.
“A really important one to just be inside that top ten especially with the unpredictable weather that we're getting. Could be a wet FP3 so it was pretty crucial this afternoon.
“It just made it more important that we needed to do a lap time there at the end, especially because a lot of guys did do a lap time so put us in the danger zone. But I was able to save the best for last, pull that lap out on my own so really happy.
“All the boys are going really fast so a lot of Ducatis up the top there. The bike's working really well around here and the guys are riding really well, so hopefully, we can continue that trend for the rest of weekend.”
With much of Friday’s talk focussed on the incoming and unpredictable weather, the pressure is ramping up as the weekend develops.
“Of course you're always a little bit more nervous or a little more stressed when there's a wet race,” Miller confirmed. “There's a lot more variables that go into it, but a wet race would be good. Makes it a lot easier to catch back points in those kinds of conditions! We'll have to wait and see what the weather will do and just try to make the most of whatever we get on Sunday.”
With that in mind, what does the Australian need to feel more confident for the 27-lap battle?
“Just try and get my first sector dialled in a little bit more,” he admitted. “I just feel a little bit sort of sloppy through there. I'm not able to be as fluid as I'd like. Sector two and sector four, we've got them dialled down pretty much but yeah, sector one and sector three I need to work on and understand. Especially sector one, the flowing nature of it, I just don't feel like I had the flow through there. So we'll study a bit of data, try to understand if it's my lines or what we can do on the bike to try to take the most out of that sector.”