Miller ‘can’t explain’ British MotoGP qualifying performance

Jack Miller

Jack Miller “can’t explain” why he went slower in qualifying than in practice for the British MotoGP but suggested his new tyres did not work for him.

Miller is set to line up seventh for Sunday’s 20-lap race at Silverstone, five positions behind Ducati Lenovo team-mate Francesco Bagnaia, courtesy of a 1:59.368s at the start of his latter run in qualifying.

The Queenslander had gone directly into Qualifying 2 with a 1:59.288s which was faster than anyone else had lapped in the first three practice sessions, having been second-fastest on the Friday with a 1:59.829s.

He had new soft tyres for the aforementioned Free Practice 3 effort, but also finished that session with a 1:59.321s on used tyres, and was fuming about the failure to go quicker when grid positions were on the line.

“It is not satisfactory if you cannot ride faster with new tyres than with used ones,” said Miller.

“The new tyres didn’t work and that annoys me. I’m not happy, but I can’t explain why that was the case either.”

The three-time MotoGP race winner reported that conditions were slightly windier in Q2 than in FP3, but believes that would not have been a factor.

While Repsol Honda’s Pol Espargaro qualified on pole, it is Monster Energy Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo who Miller is worried about given the championship leader is set to start from the other front row berth, next to Bagnaia.

“We mustn’t let Fabio Quartararo slip away on the first five or six laps,” explained #43.

“At the same time, however, we also have to be careful that the rear tyre is not stressed too much.

“If you use it too much, you can lose the race in the closing stages.”

The mood was a stark contrast to 24 hours earlier, when Miller was extolling the improvements in the Desmosedici which were evident after a season away from Silverstone.

Bagnaia had a similar take after qualifying.

“For sure, we did a good, good step, a great step in front in terms of chassis because in Sector 1 we are now competitive,” said the Italian.

“I remember that in 2019 I was struggling a lot. It was very, very heavy to move our bike, but now it’s not.

“Now, it’s very nice to ride, it’s closing well, the lines, so I think that we did an enormous step in front with our bike.”

Ducati’s front-runner in the championship admitted he was “disappointed” when it looked like Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin had smashed the field, with a 1:58.008s on the same bike, but that lap was eventually cancelled for what would have been a blatant shortcut if seen live by television cameras.

Bagnaia is thus confident about the race, for which he qualified second with a 1:58.911s.

“I think we have worked very well this weekend,” he remarked.

“At the start, I was struggling a bit, but every session we did a step in front and in the FP4 I was very confident with my bike.

“For sure, Fabio was a bit faster, but tomorrow in the race I think it will be three, four riders in front fighting.

“In qualifying, I was a bit disappointed when I see 1:58.0s by Jorge, I was thinking it was impossible and then they cancelled it.

“But anyway, I’m happy, front row is always a good result.

“I really like this track, the layout and everything. But always I struggled a bit, so I’m very happy to be strong and competitive this year.

“I think tomorrow we can make a very good race.”

Race start is due at 22:00 AEST.

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