MotoGP’s Jack Miller had his own inimitable way of surmising the adaption process to Ducati’s GP17 at Jerez: “There’s bits of my bum that aren’t chafing that normally are,” he said. Joking aside, the Australian declared himself ‘really happy’ with his initial feelings at Jerez.

The 22-year old was ninth on his first day of testing Ducati machinery in Andalusia and tenth a day later, with his best time of 1m 38.876s just over a second off Andrea Dovizioso’s fastest lap of the week.

On Thursday, Miller found it difficult to manoeuvre in Jerez’s slow corners and struggled to find optimum front feel in the fast rights that end the lap. The fitting of Ducati’s aerodynamic fairing soon cured those woes, leaving the one-time MotoGP race winner satisfied.

“It feels different,” he said on Thursday evening. “You’re in a different seating position and stuff like that. There’s bits of my bum that aren’t chafing that are normally chafing. At this time of year you’re normally getting chafed. We should be alright.”

Commenting on his first day at Jerez, Miller said, “It was good. We worked around with some set-up. We came here with the same set-up we used in Valencia. We didn’t change. But Jerez is one of those special tracks where you need quite a stable bike, especially for these last five corners. You have to roll in there so you need good front contact.

“We spent the majority of the day playing around with set-up. We changed a lot of stuff and I was happy with how quickly we adapted and got up to speed. I’m happy to end the day with a 1m 38.8s. I think I’ve definitely got more in the tank.

“I only had two days on it so it felt a little foreign. But this afternoon I felt really good and tomorrow I should have a rough feeling of what it will be like by the time we get to Sepang. I’m really happy because Jerez is always a hard track to set-up. For us to get through all the problems at the start of the day, I’m really happy to be where we are.

“We had some problems here that didn’t occur in Valencia, like stopping in the slow corners. I was losing the front a little bit. That’s something we still haven’t found what’s causing it but we have a rough idea. This was something that wasn’t a drama in Valencia. It’s something we already started to overcome.

“It’s definitely good [coming here]. You get sick of going round in circles at Valencia; left-handed track, you get over that place. It’s such a go-kart track on these things and hard to understand what you need and don’t need. It’s so tight. It’s tight on a Moto3 bike, let alone one of these things. It’s good to come here and get a different idea and perspective.”

Miller was one rider that required a good deal of time to adapt to Michelin’s different front tyre construction from Mugello. Only in the autumn of 2017 did he recapture the form he had shown in the first five races.

It appears Michelin will change very little of the front tyres raced at the close of ’17 for next year, a development welcomed by the Australian.

“That’s good for me,” he said. “I really liked the carcass at the start of the year. Then when we went to the ‘seventy’ [the construction used from Mugello onwards] I didn’t really like it too much. I struggled at Mugello.

“I missed the test at Barcelona and we started on the back foot with that tyre. I struggled to adapt to that. But once I got adapted I was alright. I’m hoping they don’t change it. It’s not only yourself; it’s the way the bike is set up. Each tyre is special in its own way.”

And what are Miller’s plans for the offseason? “We’ve been working really hard this year on my training and it’s paying off for me,” he said. “I think I just need to continue with the same sort of thing. I’ll go to America in January and work on that. I’ll enjoy a few meat pies and whatnot in Australia over Christmas. Then after Christmas on the 28th [of December] I go straight to America and get back to the grind.”


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