Jack Miller made the most of a fortuitous opportunity to follow COTA king Marc Marquez near the end of Friday afternoon's MotoGP FP2 in Austin, Texas.

The Pramac rider was briefly towed to the top while shadowing Honda's unbeaten six-time event winner, eventually finishing the day in fourth place, as the top Ducati.

"It just worked out great, I didn't plan on getting in behind him, we swapped the shock in the middle run and I wasn't happy so we swapped it back and were sort of running out of time," Miller explained.

"Literally as they were pulling the tyre warmers off and bolting up the belly pan I saw Tito [Rabat] waiting there and thought 'surely he's not waiting for me'. Then I looked to the left, 'no-no, he's waiting on Marc'!

"It was good to get a couple of laps behind him, just to pick up some of the tips for what he was doing through Turns 6-7-8.

"He uses a lot of partial throttle around here rather than stop-start; it's just accelerate a little bit and then don’t even bother grabbing the brakes again, let the bike sort of roll.

"I think that's one of the keys to going fast around here."

Miller was surprised to find he was quicker than the #93 through the changes of direction.

"There were some points where he was stronger than me and there were some points where I was stronger than him. In particular in the change of directions," Miller said. "I feel slow there, then when I got behind Marc I was actually catching him at that point, which is generally the Honda's strong point.

"Then there were a couple of places like Turns 7-8 where he was able to carry a little bit more corner speed than me, so that's something we need to work on.

"I'd already complained that I just didn't have quite the front feeling, especially in 8, the uphill chicane before the 10 drop off. So just trying to fix that, but for the rest of the track it was six of one and half-a-dozen of the other.

"He was braking late, not later than me I don’t think, but it seemed like he was struggling to stop the bike a little bit more. He ran wide a couple of times at the end of the back straight, typical Marc fashion though; it was sideways and he managed to keep it on track and do a pretty decent lap time."

But while Miller was looking to mimic parts of Marquez's riding style, Honda took to the track with a copy of the Ducati tyre warmer.

"They were protesting two races ago and now they’ve got it… who saw that coming?" smiled Miller.

The Australian also revealed that he's using some of his motocross skills to master the notorious COTA bumps.

"For sure a couple of times I found myself standing up today, down the back straight in particular and out of nine, trying to almost motocross 'manual' [the bike] onto the bump where they've sealed it and sort of roll off and accelerate again. To not upset the bike too much. Little things like that I feel definitely helped today.

"They did a great job [of resurfacing] at turn 10, which was really a bad spot last year. It's just a shame we couldn't have that asphalt all the way around the circuit. For sure in the Safety Commission tonight there will be some words said."

Should the forecast rain arrive on Saturday morning, Miller will have already secured direct access to Qualifying 2.

 

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