Jack Miller revealed excessive tyre wear prevented him from pushing for a top six finish at MotoGP’s inaugural outing in Thailand, a race in which he ‘yo-yoed’ back and forth to the leading group.

With eleven laps remaining Miller found himself in eighth, just over two seconds off leader Andrea Dovizioso, and appearing intent on attacking several of the names ahead.

But in getting to that position, the Australian admitted he “burned my [rear] tyre out a little bit too much.” Grip on Michelin’s hard rear compound had all but gone in the closing laps, with Miller losing crucial time through the turn five and six lefts.

“It just went downhill from there,” he said. By the end he had slipped to tenth, behind Alvaro Bautista and team-mate Danilo Petrucci. “It didn’t look pretty,” he said of the rear by the close of the 26 laps.

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“It was a good race, I enjoyed it a lot,” said Miller. “It seemed I struggled at the start, on the left side of the tyre, from the first lap. I'd be in the group and then we'd arrive to Turn five, six, and then lose it there. Catch it back and then again, the last left, I'd lose everything there.

“So I was sort of yo-yoing the whole time. I sort of found my rhythm with 15 laps to go, I closed back onto the front group, but in doing so, I just burned my tyre out a little bit too much, especially on the left side. It wasn't there in the end.

“I had a nice little dice with Danilo and [Andrea] Iannone for a few laps, and also Bautista. So it was a good race, like I said, hot, hot, hot conditions, I've got some burns on my leg and the bike got so hot. Good practice for Malaysia.”

On how the rear tyre wear was costing him in the closing laps, “Like into Turn five, I'd brake early. I had Zarco in front of me for the first ten laps, I'd brake early, roll into the corner simply because on the bumps I couldn't roll as fast if I was heavy on the brakes, so I'd brake a little early, let the brakes off and sort of coast through.

“And every time I gave it a little bit of partial gas to go through Turn six, it would just start spinning, and I was sat there, and it was just going like that. And every time it would sort of slide and come back, I'd lose the front, so I was just managing the front and the rear the whole way through there, and they'd just ride away from me.

“And then the next three rights, I'd just catch them back. But at the end of the race, it just became too much. Not only there, but at the last chicane, as you changed to the left and then go back to the right, through there it was just spinning and then big pumping coming from the rear tyre.

“The front, I used the medium and it was great the whole way through.”

Miller was one of several names to gamble on the medium front. After encountering overheating issues with the front rubber in Austria, managing that in the heat was one of the weekend’s big positives. But the extent of the wear on the rear came as a surprise.

Had encountered these issues in practice? “Not like that,” he said. “So it's something we'll have to look at. I think everyone was complaining about it, but my tyre was really done on the left side, it didn't look pretty.

“But for example, I think four laps to go, I passed Iannone around the outside of Turn six, so I think he was in the same boat as me. Everybody was sort of struggling through there.”

Was there a time when he felt he could fight with the leading six? “Yeah, especially when I came back to the group,” he said. “I'd sort of yo-yoed off the back of the group for a bit, and then I caught back on to the group, and it was Dani [Pedrosa] and [Alex] Rins in front of me, and we were all together, bunched up with Marc and Dovi.

“I was only about two seconds off them, maximum, with maybe 13 laps to go. But it just went downhill from there. But we'll continue on, and we'll learn from this one and take the momentum to Japan.”

As track temperatures hovered around 50 degrees Celsius on Sunday afternoon, Miller sported several burns on his calves from parts of his bike that were overheating.

“It's a hot and long race, but it's similar to Malaysia, so it's not too bad,” he said. “It's just here it's like a dry heat, so the heat comes through the bike and on to you, it's really hot. Like I said I've got one coming up on the leg a little bit, a burn, it was getting warm.

“The exhaust is there [where his lower legs were]. It's just the air's so hot and it was only down the back straight that we tucked right in, trying to get as aero as possible, I guess maybe leaning against the chassis or something.”



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