Jack Miller said he “got as close as he could to a perfect lap” of Motegi as the Australian claimed a third front row start of the season before crashing while attempting to claim a second MotoGP pole position.

The Pramac Ducati rider was only “semi-satisfied” with third place on the grid for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix, and believed he had more to give. The evidence of that came from Miller’s final attempt in Q2.

“I was coming through the first sector,” he recalled. “I was 0.19s under my time from before. I got really excited braked too late for turn five and went down.”

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“[I’m] Semi-satisfied, let’s say,” said Miller, who was just 0.137s off Andrea Dovizioso’s pole lap. “I expected more. I was surprised to be on the front row.

“But seeing my first sector on my second lap – I did my fastest on the first lap and we know that is not really the optimum for the tyres – it was going to be a good one.

“But I pushed too hard into turn five and locked the front. I was going in way too fast. I tried to continue anyway to see what would happen. What happened was I landed on my bum!”

On Friday Miller was battling braking issues, an finding his rear wheel was clearing the ground when grabbing the front brake, which in turn affected his slowing speed.

His feeling wasn’t much improved by FP4, but a change before qualifying put him on the right way. “Yesterday and this morning we still didn’t find the solution,” he said. “Between FP4 and Q2 while Q1 was going on, we pulled the bike apart and changed a few things.

“We really found a good setting for qualifying. I was only meant to do two laps on my run but after one of them I made a small mistake coming out of turn six. So I decided to do one more.

“Immediately I was faster that what I had been all weekend and that was with three laps on the tyre. I felt good. Once I had the banker in I put in another tyre and went out.

“We’ll learn from this today but in general all weekend we’ve had good pace. We’ve been pushing really hard. Here at Motegi it’s really hard because the track has so many heavy braking zones it’s very difficult to make a perfect lap. Today I got as close as I could to a perfect lap.”

 

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