Mixed weather conditions for the Qualifying 2 pole position shootout at Le Mans provided the opportunity for someone to take a tyre gamble on slicks.

Jack Miller would be top of most people's lists to throw caution to the wind and give it a go.

But the Australian decided it would be a mistake, and was proven correct when the Yamaha riders pulled straight back in for wet tyres.

"Once you've had success gambling on tyres, people automatically look at you and think you'll be the first out there," Miller said.

"But I took a little look at what was going on in Qualifying 1 and had been watching the times from FP4, when we were sat in the box pretty much the whole time while the other boys were out on wets and did a '39.

"I'd done a '42 high in FP3 in the wet, so to do a ‘39 I knew the track had to be in pretty good condition. But then seeing it start going bad at the end of Qualifying 1 on slicks, when even Valentino had some moments and it looked like the rain was rolling In.

"So I just thought to go and check it out [on wets]. When I got to Turn 4 there was quite heavy rain. So I knew I had to push because it was going to soak that part of the track.

"I was able to get a cleanish lap on my first flying lap. On my second I got really good drive through the first sector and then I just lost the rear trying to stop the bike. It was just a lot more wet than you were expecting and with the tyres overheating on the dryer parts of the asphalt it's almost like you're on slicks again."

The worsening conditions ultimately meant the grid was decided in the opening minutes, with Miller securing his first front row appearance of the season with a 1m 41.3s, behind Marc Marquez (Honda) and Danilo Petrucci (Ducati).

Nevertheless, with little to lose, Miller still pushed all-out on his final run, only to slide off at the first chicane.

"At the end I just had to go and wing it! I pushed really hard into turns two and it didn't want it," he smiled.

That spill was the latest in series of accidents for the young Australian this weekend, who is confident he has podium pace for the race.

"Yeah definitely. Friday morning went really great. I think we did our best time on lap 17 of the tyres and were really competitive," he said.

"Thankfully that was enough to get me through to Q2 because yesterday afternoon everything went wrong! I tried the medium tyre, crashed, then I tried the softs and crashed on them too.

"So we've got a lot of gravel, enough to make an aquarium when we get home!

"I'm happy to have the pace. Wet or dry I feel we’re pretty strong, but I'd much prefer a dry race.

"27 laps around here - I can barely stay on for five in the wet, so I’d prefer it to be dry!"

Miller, who took his first podium of the season at Austin, is currently seventh in the world championship.

 

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