Australia’s MotoGP™ star Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda) has surprised himself with a strong performance on the opening day of the Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2017.
Less than three weeks after the Queenslander underwent surgery to insert a plate and eight screws to a fracture in his right tibia, he finished an impressive third fastest in Friday morning’s FP1 session, only 0.122 seconds off the fastest time.
The 22-year-old was quicker again in the second session despite finishing sixth overall, this time just 0.241 seconds off pacesetter Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini).
Despite joking about hoping it would “bucket down” during Saturday morning’s all-important FP3 session in order to be granted an easy ticket through to the afternoon’s second qualifying session, Miller said there was plenty more in the tank.
“A 29.4 round here is a nice low lap, and I didn’t even put all my sectors together so I’m sure I’ve got some more pace up my sleeve,” he said.
The leg injury, which sidelined Miller from last week’s Japanese Grand Prix, didn’t give him any problems on the bike on Friday other than some stiffness – but he is yet to resort to painkillers to ease the discomfort.
“I feel good out there, I feel comfortable,” he said.
“Since I first went out this morning I’ve felt comfortable, the bike’s working well, the team’s working really well and I’m working alright today, too, so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.
Miller identified Turn 6 to Turn 8 as the hardest part of the 4.45km circuit to string together a fast lap with his injury, but he hopes the leg will loosen up as the weekend progresses.
“I’m looking forward to qualifying, I feel like we can really push towards the pointy end,” he said.
“Top three in the morning, top six in the afternoon session – I’ve got a consistent pace, I feel like I’ve got the speed (to challenge) and gives me more and more hope for Sunday.”
Tickets for the Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2017 are still available. Book now for an epic weekend.