MotoGP

One lap speed impresses but long run underwhelms Miller

Jack Miller has been impressed by Ducati’s single-lap pace advantage at the end of the Sepang MotoGP test but concedes worries still remain about its race distance speed
One lap speed impresses but long run underwhelms Miller

Jack Miller didn’t hide his approval of Ducati’s single-lap pace advantage at the end of the Sepang MotoGP test but concedes worries still remain about its long run speed against its rivals.

Miller ended the final day of the Sepang test third in an all-Ducati top four as former Pramac team-mate Danilo Petrucci topped the times with a new unofficial lap record of 1m 58.239s at the Malaysian circuit.

Despite conditions being ideal for lap record attempts, Miller says he was still surprised to see how quick the Ducati runners could go and never expected a rider to reach into the 58.2 bracket.

“A 58.3s? I don’t know. That’s a fast lap time. I saw Petrucci do the 58.2s and thought, ‘Fuck!’,” Miller said. “I thought we could go in the 58s but I wasn’t expecting a 58.3.”

While Miller’s positivity over single-lap speed was clear, his feelings on race pace meant he was searching for more from the Ducati GP19.

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In a breakdown of fastest lap counts, both Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Suzuki’s Alex Rins produced the greater consistency of quicker lap times on their long runs compared to Miller and his fellow Ducati riders.

Miller’s own race simulation was cut short by a crash, his third of the Sepang test, after losing control of the front going over a bump at Turn 7.

“I lost the front on a bump. I was struggling to stop the bike during the whole long run and then I thought I overheated the front tyre,” he said. “I got some shaking on the exit of turn six, came into turn seven, hit a bump and went down.

“The pace was the race pace we had here last year, we were actually faster than what it was last year.

“But if you look at Vinales, who was doing 1m 59s, it looks like they’re able to take advantage of the track more than, say, we are when the track’s in perfect condition with a lot of Michelin rubber down.

“I’m just trying to get them [crashes] all out of the way at the first test! It was not the way I anticipated ending the week. We’ll take the good with the bad.

“We’ll look at the positives. We’ve got great outright speed. The bike was working good all week but just something happened during the long run.”

Miller trialled Ducati’s new aerodynamic fairing in Sepang but says he didn’t test out its ‘holeshot switch’, which gathered a great deal of attention, and is keen to try out all of Ducati’s new parts at the final pre-season test in Qatar at the end of February.

“It’s good. The bike’s a little narrow, as you can see, but there is still some work to do in terms of straight line speed,” Miller said about the ‘six wing’ fairing. “There are still some things to work on, as it seems to be lacking a little bit compared to the old fairing. But we’ll see.”

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