Pramac Ducati rider Jack Miller has said that he is hoping tomorrows French MotoGP is a dry one, joking that he’s struggling to stay on his GP19 for five laps, let alone 27.
With Miller’s only MotoGP victory to date coming in mixed conditions, you could be forgiven that the man starting from the outside of the front row in third position would be doing a rain dance in his motorhome tonight. However, the Aussie stated that he would much prefer a dry race, confident of his pace in the dry.
“The Friday morning went really great like we planned,” said ‘JackAss’.
“We just kept the same tyres on and tried to do a lot of laps to try and understand how they would do in the race. I think we did the best lap on lap 17 of the tyres and it was really competitive in terms of lap times.
“Thankfully it was enough to get me through to Q2 as in the afternoon everything went wrong. Tried the medium and crashed, tried two softs and crashed on them too, so we’ve got more gravel down there, so we can make an aquarium when we get home, there’s enough there.
“Happy to have the pace, wet or dry, I feel we’re pretty song, but I would much prefer a dry race, 27 laps here, I can barely stay on for five in the wet, so I would prefer it to be dry.”
With light rain falling in qualifying, many expected Miller to be one of a few riders to gamble with slick tyres in the tricky conditions. Miller however explained that he took a mature approach, looking at data from Q1 and FP4 before making his decision.
“Once you’ve had success on gambling on tyres, people automatically look at you and think you’re going to be the first one out there,” he said.
“But I took a look at what was going on in Q1 and as we were heading into Q1 I was looking at the times in FP4, we sat in the box pretty much the whole time, but the boys were out on wets and doing 39’s. When we went to FP3 I did a couple of 42 highs, and doing a 42 high in those conditions when the track was really wet was not easy. So to do a 39 I knew the track had to be in a good condition.
“But then seeing at the end of the Q1 it started going bad and even Valentino towards the end of his run started having some moments, it looked like the rain was rolling in.”
Much like Marquez, Miller low-sided out of the qualifying session after pushing in the first sector. The Aussie explained his strategy, before eventually his Ducati said ‘no more’.
“When I exited my box I got to turn four and it was quite heavy rain there, so I knew I had to push because it was going to soak that part of the track and it was there in turn six or seven and it was really bucketing it down, so you had to be careful there, and I was able to get a clean-ish lap on my first flying lap, and that was actually my best one like Marc,” explained Miller.
“On my second one I got a really good drive through the first sector but when I came through the bottom where he crashed and I lost the rear trying to stop the bike and it was a lot more wet than you expected, and with the tyres overheating on the dry parts of the asphalt, when you arrive at the wet parts it’s almost like ice, like you’re on slicks again. Then at the end I really had to wing it, I pushed really hard into turn two and she didn’t want it.”