Jack Miller’s conservative approach to the start of the Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2018 didn’t quite reap the dividends the Australian was expecting.
“From the outset I was on the softest map known to man, and I had people passing me from every angle as I was trying to conserve the left-hand side of the tyre for the first three-quarters of the race,” said Miller, who eventually finished in seventh position on his 2017 model Alma Pramac Ducati.
“So I didn’t really expect to be leading on lap one – but the opportunity arose.
“I just tried to remain calm at that point. Towards the end of the race I put the bike in fast mode and started working towards them (the pack, chasing race leader Maverick Vinales) for about two laps before I started losing the rear.
“I then went back to the soft map and couldn’t close in on those guys. I was happy enough with the result, but based on how conservative I was in the first few laps I was expecting to have more than the other guys at the end but it didn’t work out that way.
“Close, but no cigar, but I was the first independent bike home – and on a bike that wasn’t in the top 10 last year we’ll take it.”
When asked if it was still a good result on a year-old machine against the current factory bikes, Miller said: “I think so. I would have like to have been closer to them, but to have Rins and Rossi right in front of me, we’ll take it – but I want more for next year.
“Overall, it’s been a good weekend. We learnt a lot again, and the fans definitely got their money’s worth. I am now looking to take this momentum to Malaysia next weekend, where we can really compare ourselves at a circuit where we did a lot of testing at the start of the year.”
Today’s result was Miller’s second successive seventh place result at Phillip Island. In 2017 he finished 5.6 seconds behind race winner Marc Marquez, and this year he completed proceedings 6.756 in arrears of runaway victor, Vinales.
He is 13th in the championship, but with strong finishes at Sepang and Valencia he can finish as high as 11th in the final standings.