Jack Miller tried the new 'big bang'-style Honda engine during Wednesday's opening day of private MotoGP testing at Jerez.

The Marc VDS Honda rider, contracted directly to HRC, set the ninth fastest lap time, 0.726s behind the best of the day by Avintia Ducati's Hector Barbera...

Crash.net:
You're here on HRC testing duties rather than for Marc VDS?

Jack Miller:
Yeah, I'm working for the bosses!

Crash.net:
It sounded like you were using the new engine today?

Jack Miller:
We only had the new engine here. I just gave them my feedback. I'm pretty happy with how it was working. The bike's smooth, comfy... It was a pretty decent day. It was my fastest lap around here, so I can be happy with that. But of course we need to find a little bit more. The Ducatis always seem to work really well here in the winter, whereas we can't really get the best out of the colder track.

We're feeling pretty good on the bike. We have to work a little bit more with the gearbox and stuff like that, just because of the different way that the [engine] makes its power. So we're going to stick around for tomorrow and get out there again and see what we can come up with. It should be better conditions tomorrow. Most of today the track still had damp patches. This afternoon the sun got on the other side and dried a lot of it out. So hopefully if it stays clear we can get out a bit earlier tomorrow morning.

Crash.net:
Do you already prefer the new engine to old one, would you say?

Jack Miller:
For my style of riding, yes. It's smooth, it's easy, it's very calm to ride. It's nothing like what I've had before in MotoGP. It's definitely a lot smoother. A lot easier, user-friendly, I feel. There are just a few teething issues, but it's nothing major. It's all pretty small for how little testing the engine has done.

Crash.net:
Marc has said all year about the acceleration issue with the Honda...

Jack Miller:
There still is. It's not like we have a lot more speed or anything like that. Like I said, they are still in the teething phase with the new engine, but I'm sure if they needed to wind more power out of it they can. But of course it's on the safe side at the moment, in the early days of testing. There is no point winding the thing up here. Hopefully they've got some stuff up their sleeve. But it all feels pretty good. The bike's calm. Nice and smooth to ride. I'm pretty happy with it. Lap times were consistent. I'm feeling good.

Crash.net:
Did your feedback about the new engine match what Marc and Dani had said about it?

Jack Miller:
I think they've liked it at some tracks and not so much at others. I don't know too much about what they've said. Here it seems to be working well for me, so I've enjoyed it.

Crash.net:
Apart from the engine, is the rest of the bike the same as you had at the Valencia test? With the chassis Cal has been using?

Jack Miller:
Yeah, it's Cal's chassis. We've got a few different things - forks and stuff like that, that other people have been using. So we got to try that out today. It was pretty good. Working with Cristian [Gabarrini] for the last two years and then now working with Ramon there's different ways of setting up the bike - so we are just finding out what's working for me. Trying a new style of setting up the bike. Some I'm liking. It's testing.

Crash.net:
Did the new chassis cure all of your front-end issues?

Jack Miller:
It did. And again today, it felt really comfortable from the word go. I mean, we didn't really have to adjust suspension or anything like that very much. Definitely feel comfortable and looking forward to working with it a little more. This chassis, they haven't really developed. It's just something that they brought and it seemed to work from the word go. So I think if we can give it a little bit more development, hopefully it can help myself, Tito and Cal. Because it seems to suit our riding style.

Crash.net:
It must be a confidence boost after the problems this season?

Jack Miller:
It is, definitely. I'm just trying to work back the confidence that I lost over the past couple of years. I'm feeling good.

Crash.net:
What is the main benefit of the different chassis?

Jack Miller:
Just general front feeling. Turning capability. Definitely, for my style, I can turn the bike more and carry more corner speed. It's just in general a more comfortable, smoother ride. More like the bikes I've ridden in the past.

By Peter McLaren and Neil Morrison
Picture: Steve English

 

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