Jack Miller secured a provisional place in Qualifying 2 for the Japanese MotoGP, despite falling on an even better lap at the end of Friday afternoon practice.

The Pramac Ducati rider, fighting to get back on terms with Fabio Quartararo for top satellite honours in the world championship, lost the front of this machine into Turn 9 of the Motegi circuit.

The Australian's frustration was clear as he came to a halt in the gravel, later revealing he'd made a repeat of the mistake that took him out of last year's race.

"I'd just done my best lap time and was on course to do another personal best, so it was a shame we didn’t finish the lap," Miller said. "But a simple mistake, I know exactly what I did because I did it last year in the race at that exact same corner!

"Just a little wider than normal turning in, there's a bump there and I hit it at full angle, full brakes and the bike's unloaded. I'll try not to do that again over the weekend, but all in all a good first day."

Miller's previous flying lap put him seventh on the timesheets, 0.8s from day one leader Quartararo. But it was largely mission accomplished for the #43, whose priority alongside a top ten place was to find a hasty race set-up in view of the forecast rain.

"The pace was good, we did a lot of laps on the soft tyre especially, just trying to understand for the race because it looks like we're going to have wet conditions tomorrow," Miller explained.

"So I think today was really important just to work solely on our race pace because it looks like it'll be a dry Sunday, but wet Saturday.

"We needed as much information as we could get today and I think we did so, but also trying to stay inside the [top ten] Qualifying 2 cut-off because that's also important for tomorrow."

Pending the outcome of talks with the team, Miller feels his race-tyre selection is already clear.

"I felt quite good with the soft, and I used it this morning to this afternoon. Probably we'll do some more understanding and look at the data, but I think medium [front] - soft [rear] looks pretty clear for the race option."

Andrea Dovizioso was the top Ducati in fourth place on Friday, with factory team-mate Danilo Petrucci in eighth. Miller's rookie team-mate Francesco Bagnaia was 14th.

 

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