For two race weekends that have promised so much, there has been little in the way of results. But performances at Silverstone and Misano certainly point to Jack Miller having re-found the confidence and swagger that has earmarked him as one of MotoGP's most exciting talents. 

The Australian was distraught in the wake of the Grand Prix of San Marino, where a third lap crash undid much of his good work across the weekend, namely securing his first front row start in the dry in the premier class.

“It was a small mistake from me,” admitted Miller of the moment when he fell out of fourth place at the low speed turn 14. “With a full fuel tank I was losing a lot in acceleration onto the back straight out of Turn Six. I was just trying to stay with the [leaders]. Really, really disappointed. A small mistake has cost us an awesome weekend.”

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A small mistake, yes, but this was more like it. A second-lap crash at Mugello would be the beginning of a downturn in results that contrasted significantly with his opening to his time aboard the Pramac Ducati GP17.

Not long after a disappointing 18th place at the Red Bull Ring – a mistake-plagued outing he described as a “low point” – the 23-year old admitted recent months had been tough to swallow. “It is difficult to deal with and it is stressful because you have a lot of people asking questions but the self-belief is still there,” he said.

From there, Pramac Ducati team boss Francesco Guidotti moved to ensure his rider joined him for a few days in Italy. “Then we pushed to recover him. We tried to stay much closer to him,” Guidotti said. “He came to Italy to train and to stay with us. For sure it had some effect. I don’t know if it was the solution, but it had some good effect on him.”

Miller appeared rejuvenated a week later in England. There was all the bravery and grit witnessed in that sensational weekend in Argentina in April in his qualifying spell when he attacked a partly wet Silverstone track on slicks. It wasn’t just then. Miller was inside the top six in each free practice session, too.

“It’s just trying to find that feeling,” Miller explained of his recent recovery at Misano. “When you have it, you have it. It’s just trying to get that feeling under control and taking a step back and relax a little bit. I think I was focussing too much on trying to be at the front and working, not doing the proper steps through the race weekend, like running race set-ups and things like that, and [not] trusting myself.

“I was starting to try and follow, doing the wrong things and then falling back into old patterns. It was more trying to wipe the slate clean and trying to be where we were at the start of the year. It worked. I sort of tried to go my own way, a little bit.”

After his excellent second place in qualifying, he explained further: “It seems to me a little bit like 2014 all over again for me. I always struggle in those few tracks that we’ve been to. It just wasn’t happening. I was trying and doing everything the same, more or less.

“It took for Austria to really sink in. I was there fighting for the race but just cooked the front tyre and ran off in the gravel. It was a shocking race in the end for me. It really took that to sort of hit a low point and go home and step back and sort of hit the reset button and go. It seems to have worked.”

Team boss Guidotti, who will see Miller step up to be his lead rider aboard a full-factory GP19 in 2019, believes the one-time MotoGP race winner is still adapting to expectations of fighting at the front of the field each weekend.

“My feeling is he made very good winter tests, and a very good start to the season,” said the Italian. “He was pushing. he was three years without big pressure on his shoulders. A lot of frustration, but not so much pressure.

“When you know you can do a good result, and you have to do it when you have that potential. I think it’s something like when, for many years, you are not used to being on top and feeling the pressure of being on top you can feel tired. If together you consider that at one circuit our bike might not be so good, the two things make what happened. I don’t think it was a big, big issue.

“[After going to Italy] He found back the focus and the concentration that he had at the start of the season. You know, to be constantly on top for all of the season is very difficult. You have to be used to that. It’s important that he shows the potential and he shows the speed. We have to help him to make it constant.”

At Misano, Miller’s friend Cal Crutchlow opined, “within three years Jack can win this world title.” Does Guidotti agree? “You can see what he did here [Misano qualifying], and at the beginning of the season. You can see what he did in Argentina. He needs to just be more constant, a bit more precise in his riding and he can stay constantly in the top five. [I’m] One hundred percent sure of that."

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