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Qatar MotoGP test II: ‘It's gonna be a mega first race’ - Miller

Ducati’s Jack Miller may have come out on top after five days in the Doha desert but he is not expecting an easy ride come race day.

Feeling very much at home in his new factory environment, the Australian got to grips quickly with the all-red bikes as he re-familiarised himself with the Losail International Circuit. So much so that he set an unofficial lap record, a 1’53.183, to dominate proceedings on only the third day of action and remained unbeaten as the preseason test came to an end.

Speaking about his new team, Miller confirmed: “You’ve got to really enjoy the guys you work with and we’ve got a great atmosphere there in the box. I think the boys are liking it, even the way I just went out and did the first couple of runs in the first test, I come in and sort of explained how the bike was working in typical Aussie fashion with a swear word here and there. I just watched all the engineers and staff start laughing, it was just a great way to start off any relationship but I think they’re really enjoying the atmosphere in the box, as I am too. I think if you like what you’re doing it’s always better.”


Sitting pretty at the top of the standings, the Lenovo rider used Thursday to work through the tyre allocation and race simulation in preparation for the opening round in just two weeks’ time, explaining:

“I did 15 laps with yesterday’s used tyres, and then I tried a race simulation with new tyres. I covered almost the entire distance of the Grand Prix, but compared to a real race, I pushed hard right away in the first few laps, wearing out the rear tyre, which had a drop towards the end.

“I am not worried about that because I know my approach in the race will be different. In general, I feel very comfortable on the bike, and I’m satisfied with our work.

“It’s always the same, race simulation is nothing like being in the race but I’ve got through the jobs we needed to get through.

“We had quite a big day, the boys had to do a few changes on the bike so we spent a bit of time in the garage, just a couple of little things that needed to be changed in order for the race, but apart from that, a really positive day.

“I did the lap time on the same tyre as yesterday. At the end there I just had to go out and check a few temperatures on the bike and when I went out I seen Franky, so I sort of tagged on the back of him on the 15-lap old tyre and felt good on it and was able to do my best lap of the day, so pretty happy.

“The bike was pretty good. As I said, the race simulation, you’re just out there sort of circulating on your own, just trying to stick to a lap-time, you’re not really thinking about tyre consumption or anything like that, you’re just trying to do the best you can.

“The last sort of four laps, that kind of fell off the edge of a cliff there but I think there’s some things we can do a little bit, in setup, just to try and gain a little bit better, let’s say longevity, out of the tyres.

“It’s never gonna be the same on race day, you know after the Dunlop rubber has been laid down and everything like that so your just getting a feel for the bike, taking lap by lap, full fuel load and everything but in terms of times you can’t really look at them too much. Especially when there’s that much Michelin rubber on the ground so like I said just happy that I could complete them, felt good on the bike, didn’t really get tired at all, so that’s a positive and I’m keen for the race now.


“At the end of the test I feel satisfied” the Australian continued. “I feel like we’ve done everything we needed to do. As I’ve said plenty of times before, I have a great feeling with the bike. I would have liked to have done a few more laps today, maybe not the full 22 laps but at least another little bit of a long run, just to understand the rear and see if we could get a little bit less of that drop at the end but all in all it’s been a really positive four days testing here, and really excited to be heading back here in a few days for the race.”

When asked who he thinks are his biggest challengers come race day, Miller replied “it just comes down to how much time you got!

“For sure Fabio’s looking really strong, Maverick is looking really strong. Franky will be there, for sure, he’s a racer. He’s showed some good pace already over this test and I don’t think he’s really pulled all his cards out. Suzukis, I think they’re keeping a few in the back pocket, so it’s kind of hard to say. I mean, we’ll find out in a couple of weeks’ time.

“It’s gonna be a mega first race for the fans, that’s for certain so I can’t wait to put on a big show!”

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