Miller: ‘I thought, ‘couple of tenths off the lap record, not bad…’

Jack Miller comfortably beat his best Ducati lap time in last year’s Portuguese MotoGP as he wrapped up preparations for his debut KTM season at Portimao on Sunday.
Jack Miller , Portimao MotoGP test, 11 March
Jack Miller , Portimao MotoGP test, 11 March

Unfortunately for the Australian, former team-mate and reigning champion Francesco Bagnaia also cut 0.8s from his best race lap, leaving the test with a new unofficial record of 1m 37.968s.

Miller reached a 1m 38.909s, two-tenths from the official pole record, but the ultra-close timesheets meant it was only good enough for 17th place, 0.9s behind Bagnaia and 0.4s from KTM team-mate Brad Binder.

“We managed to drop another second today,” Miller said on Sunday evening. “I thought, ‘a couple of tenths off the lap record, that's not too bad...’

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“The problem is, the other boys are now nearly eight-tenths under the lap record! But anyway, we're getting there.

“One more day wouldn't go astray for sure, but we haven't got that privilege.”

Miller has had just six days of winter testing - one in Valencia, three in Sepang and then two in Portimao - to try and adapt from the dominant Desmosedici to RC16, which is without a dry win since Catalunya 2021.

“I think we made a step today in terms of my comfort level on the bike, and I was able to feel more and more comfortable,” Miller added. “We were able to lean it over more, carry more speed, release the brakes early and so on.”

While Binder spoke of a general lack of rear grip holding him back, Miller has highlighted a lack of corner-exit performance since his debut test at Valencia last November.

“We also made some big strides in terms of electronics,” he said. “They need a bit of polishing now, we've been trying to rewrite code and so on in between exits and spending too much time in the box, so the boys are rushing through it.

"For sure all that now needs to be taken away, diagnosed and polished up for when we come back here.“


Miller: ‘Racing’s always different’

While the Portimao timesheets didn’t make pretty reading for KTM or Honda – whose MotoGP riders filled 7 of the last 9 places - Miller feels he’s going into the race weekend having found a ‘decent base setting’.

“Racing's always different,” said the four-time MotoGP winner. “I think we've got a decent base setting now.

"We're sort of back to where we were in Malaysia, especially in the front end of the bike. I didn’t have the best of front feelings [on day one] but we made some steps to remedy that.

“So we're getting there and I think we'll be able to hopefully put it all together. As I said, there's some tidying up to be done in terms of electronics, just to get the thing a little bit more consistent over race distance. “

The Portimao MotoGP takes place from March 24-26.

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