Jack Miller acknowledged his strategy in Sunday’s Argentine Grand Prix was not the perfect one, but believes this recent encounter, which saw him contest the podium places, will be vital experience as he seeks to make a habit of finishing inside the MotoGP top six.

The gutsy Australian equalled his best finish since switching to Ducati at the start of 2018, coming home fourth after a combative display in which he fought tooth and nail with Franco Morbidelli, Valentino Rossi, Danilo Petrucci and Alex Rins.

And while he claimed to have been “happy” to win out in a late scrap with Rins and Petrucci, Miller struggled to hide his disappointment at missing out on a podium finish. On Saturday the one-time premier class race winner felt a top three was well within his reach.

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One problem, he said, was his front tyre choice. While 20 of the grid’s 22 riders opted for Michelin’s hard option, Miller went with the medium. Another was his decision to engage in out-and-out combat early into the race also proved costly. “Maybe I should have let them burn their tyres out,” he said.

Still, fourth was Miller’s best result since Le Mans a year ago. He had the beating of factory Ducati rider Petrucci, while Andrea Dovizioso’s lead Ducati was just 1.5s away.

“I got stuck into a couple of battles with the likes of Petrucci and Moridelli which cost me some time but I’m happy to at least win that battle,” said the 24-year old. “I expected a little bit more, and I was coming back to the guys in front at the end, but I’m really happy with the result.

“The bike worked really well all weekend, we worked really well all weekend. We definitely put in the work and you could see that by around lap 20 when I was able to pick off some guys and get back to the front. That proved the work we did.

“In FP4 I used the hard front tyre and I probably should have used it again for the race but I made the decision to use the medium tyre. I felt better on the medium but with the heat today maybe the hard would have been better because I was pushing the front from the third lap.

“As the rear got more worn I was able to control the front a bit more and I was able to make some moves at the end of the race. I think that my strategy could have been a bit better because I got into some tussles, with Morbidelli and a few others, when maybe I should have let them burn their tyres out.

“Maybe I should have waited rather than trying to fight them but I learned from that today. All in all it’s a good day, we’ve got some decent points on the board and it’s better than in Qatar. I said to Francessco [Guidotti – Pramac Racing’s team manager] afterwards that 25 laps in this heat was easier than 13 laps with no seat in Qatar!”

Miller knows early performances this season are crucial as he attempts to gain a place in Ducati’s factory team for 2020. He feels only a “small step” is needed to take a first podium for the Bologna factory.

“I think that this is what I should expect all year,” he said. “But I think what I learned today was that I was lacking a little bit in race experience but the lessons will help me improve. We only need to make a small step to fight with the guys in front.

“We’ve been going well all year so far and that’s important with contracts and I’ll try and keep that going but my main goal is to get on the podium and I’d be happy with three Ducati’s on the podium if I was one of them. I’ll try and get there in Austin because it’s a track that I like.”

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