Jack Miller attempted to sound upbeat after scoring a seventh place at his home grand prix at Phillip Island, but was surprised to experience a lack of traction in the closing laps after spending the majority of the race looking after his rear tyre.

Of his race, the Australian said, “We rode very conservatively but it still wasn’t enough,” referencing how his final push to catch a five-rider fight for second late on plateaued as his grip expired.

Miller also revealed his early one-lap spell at the front of the race wasn’t planned, as he attempted to avoid the mistakes of last year’s outing, when he used up too much of his rear rubber when leading.

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“I didn’t really feel comfortable out the front there, I was just trying to be calm,” he said. “I didn’t exactly plan to be leading that early but the opportunity arose. I put myself there but you saw from the outside I was really trying to save the tyre.

“Especially the first three quarters of the race the bike was really slow of the corners. I was happy with that. I had a dull map in just trying to conserve the tyre.

“But it wasn’t enough. At the end there I hit the switch, started coming towards them. I finally got to run with them for around two laps but I started to lose the rear and missing drive. So I went back to the other one to keep going.

“We just missed out on closing into those guys. I was close but no cigar: the first independent, but still seventh position. I’m not too happy but on a bike that wasn’t inside the top ten here last year, we’ll take it.”

On the possibility his riding may have caused the maximum performance of his rear tyre to fall away, Miller was unequivocal. “No. Not at all. I was on the softest map. I had guys passing me around the outside, around the inside from every angle, everywhere.

“Coming out of Siberia and also on the front straight, just because I was trying to conserve the left side of the rear tyre. It wasn’t enough. We were probably missing a bit of rear grip there. Anyway, onwards and upwards. We’re happy. We’ll take it.

“It’s been a good weekend. We learned a lot again. I’m just happy to walk from it with a good result in front of the home fans. A good race, I think. The fans definitely got their money’s worth.

“I look forward to taking this momentum to Malaysia in testing. It’s nice to get back inside the top ten after Japan. I look forward to comparing how we were in testing back in the winter.

“There were a lot of us [Ducatis] up there. Of course, mine was the only older one but Alvaro did a great job this weekend.

“Like I said, I’m happy enough with the result but I was expecting to have a little bit more compared to the other guys at the end, especially with how conservative I was in the opening laps. But it didn’t work out the way.”

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