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MotoGP France: Slick gamble pays off for Friday pace setter Miller

Jack Miller fits slick tyres at just the right time in FP1 to set the fastest MotoGP time of the day at a wet Le Mans.
Jack Miller was in high spirits on Friday evening after showing competitively in both Friday free practice sessions at Le mans, saying his gamble to fit slick tyres in the closing minutes of FP1 paid off.

The Australian posted the quickest MotoGP time of the day toward the end of the morning session, when the clouds briefly cleared and the rain abated. On slick rubber Miller was the only rider to lap in the 1m 37s on the damp-but-drying 2.6-mile track.

An afternoon shower ruled out the chance of improving further, leaving Miller a full 1.2s clear of second fastest Marc Marquez. “I'm feeling good… very good,” he said of his current feel with the 2017 RC213V.

“I'm really happy that I took the gamble and threw slicks in when I did this morning, it's paid off for us,” said the 22-year old.

“It was completely wet, and with 10 minutes to go it started raining again a little more. When the rain came again, I had already 25 laps on the tyres, I started getting some pretty severe aquaplaning into turn one, the bike was moving a lot.

“I came into the box and with five minutes to go I said 'I can't be bothered putting a new set of tyres in'. We were already quite strong. So I sat out the last four or five minutes.

“We'll see what the weather will bring [tomorrow]. We never know here in France. We'll do our best and keep working at it.

“I felt comfortable with my time and of course I knew I had the banker in from this morning. I wasn't too stressed.

“Also this morning, when I put the slicks in, was really calm, built up on the lap time, lap by lap getting faster and faster. I'm feeling good at the moment, very good.”

Commenting on Michelin's new asymmetric soft wet rear tyre, Miller had no doubts that it could last for a full race distance.

“It was good. It will make a difference, for sure. I used mine this morning, the one I used this afternoon was already from the morning where it had been spun on a little bit of a dry surface and had lost a lot of rubber.

“But it was still working really well, 25 laps on a tyre. So if we were to have a wet race on Sunday, which it doesn't look like, I'd have no doubts about the softs making the race distance.”

By Neil Morrison

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Tagged as: Miller , Marquez , 2017

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