After fighting back to fitness following a winter training injury, Jack Miller has been forced to withdraw from this weekend's Austin MotoGP due to a foot injury.

The Marc VDS rider suffered a big highside in Friday practice, breaking the 5th metatarsal and knocking metalwork inserted from an earlier injury. He also suffered heavy bruising on the same right ankle he broke while training on a motocross bike in January.

Although back on track for Saturday's FP3 and FP4 session, it soon became apparent that physiotherapy and pain killing injections were not working and the young Australian reluctantly withdrew prior to qualifying.

"We broke a couple of little bones in the foot but that's not what's disturbing me. It's where I've had the plates already put in, just the big whip of the impact on the plates - hasn't moved any of the plates - but it could have moved a screw or whatever and upset it all. The leg's just swollen up like a balloon," Miller revealed.

In morning practice Miller had been able to slash one-second from his Friday lap time and move up to 17th out of 21 riders.

"I tried everything. This morning I went out and busted out a couple of laps and, for not being able to hang off the right side, we weren't too bad," he said. "But I was in so much pain. Then this afternoon we tried an injection, but it only really numbed the skin around it. It didn't do all that much for where the pain is.

"Once you get going the adrenalin gets in but the biggest problem is the first right-left-right-left corners. So many changes that you need your whole body to push from side-to-side and I'm trying to do it all with one leg. In FP4 I went through there and as I pushed off the left side my foot slipped off and I nearly came off the bike. Just pushing too hard on the left leg."

Miller confirmed that the accident was caused by pushing too hard on an out-lap in FP1.

"Really disappointed. It was almost a rookie error that caused it, a colder tyre, just pushing a little bit too much on the out-lap and not giving the tyre enough time to heat up. It put me on my arse.

"I was really lucky honestly. It's the first time I've really used the air bag. As I highsided the airbag had already exploded. When I landed on my hand and sort of back and rolled, it absorbed the impact a lot and I can't thank Dainese enough for that. For such a big crash - we wouldn't really have anything wrong if I didn't have this dodgy foot already.

"We'll keep working with the Clinica Mobile this weekend and by Jerez it should be ok. It's just needs time. It's got to settle down. The body has had a big shock again. It's just one thing after another. Hopefully the bad luck will run out soon and all the hard work we've been putting in will pay off."

Miller began the season with 14th in Qatar, then fell from the top six during last Sunday's race in Argentina.

By Peter McLaren



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