Always one of the first to risk slick tyres on a drying track, and one of the few that wanted to race at Silverstone in 2018, Jack Miller was again in the minority when it came to a riders' vote on cancelling Saturday qualifying at the Australian MotoGP.

Strong gusts made for treacherous conditions on day two at Phillip Island, final practice being halted after Miguel Oliveira was literally blown onto the grass on the main straight, causing a big accident for the Portuguese at Turn One.

A Safety Commission meeting was then called, with the riders voting on if it was safe to continue.

Home star Miller was among several to say qualifying should go ahead as planned despite the 'scary conditions', although he also accepted it was a good decision to stop.

"I think there were about three of us, me being one of them [wanting to continue]," Miller said. "I believe in riding to the conditions. Know your limit and whatnot.

"If you want to push a little bit more, you know the risks, we know what we're doing.

"But the decision has been made. I think it's a good one, because it was pretty bad out there.

"At some point, I think we're motorbike racers and we sometimes need to be toed back into line and told, 'hey, it's too stupid now to get out there'."

The Pramac Ducati rider was certainly well aware of the potential dangers posed by the gusts of wind having seen the aftermath of Oliveira's accident, plus a similar turn one incident in Moto2.

"I was coming along the front straight and then I saw the massive cloud of dust and slowed down immediately. Didn't know if it was pissing down at Turn 1 or what," he said.

"You saw Tulovic go off there right at the end of the Moto2 session, same thing. Got blown, and he had to bail because he was going to hit the wall. It tells you how long it takes you to slow down on the grass.

"[The wind at] Turn 1 was scary. Gripping the handlebars every lap not knowing what was going on as you were going in there, if you were going to get a gust at 60 km/h or at 20 km/h.

"So it's hard to position yourself on the track when you don't really know what the bike's going to do. It's out of your control more or less.

"[The wind] hits you like a ton of bricks and shifts you across two or three metres depending on how the gust is at that point of time.

"When Moto2 were out it still wasn't too bad, windspeeds of 25-30 km/h. Then once that last shower came through it turned to gusts of over 60km/h... I've known a few small houses in Australia that have been blown over by that."

As well as the first corner, "Turn 3 was really bad. Because you get halfway through it and get smashed from the side and it takes the front wheel completely out. Turn 9 also, as soon as you got to the top of the hill at Lukey, not even with much angle on the bike, the front would just go.

"It's not a pleasant feeling, it's not much fun, but those are the conditions. But the decision's been made [not to ride], I think it's a good one, we'll roll with it and see what we can do tomorrow."

While Miller accepted stopping the Saturday action was probably the right thing to do, he doesn't see why qualifying needs to be held on Sunday.

"I didn't really find that necessary," he said, feeling the free practice times should be used (as at Qatar 2017), which would put him fifth on the grid.

"We had a 'qualifying' yesterday. Every single one of us put two new tyres on, we all knew what was happening, to try and get through to Q2. So I don't 100% agree on that, but it is what it is.

"If you destroy your bike [in tomorrow's qualifying], the mechanics are under a lot of pressure. So we'll try not to do that.

"Hopefully we'll have a lovely sunshiney day and give these fans something they deserve after standing out in the wind all day."

Meanwhile, Miller was quick to dismiss the theory that the latest MotoGP wing fairings made crosswinds more of a problem than in the past.

"Nah. That's what a couple of guys started spouting on about in the [Safety Commission] meeting, 'Oh, well if we take the wings off, it'll be good.'

"But that's bullshit, because the wings are the one thing keeping the wheels on the ground into the entrance to Turn 1. Without them, we'd be in some real trouble.

"I've ridden here plenty of times without wings, back when they were banned, or back when we were on Honda, and I can tell you one thing, it wheelied a lot more into Turn 1 than what it does now at 340 km/h.

"So maybe they affect more when you're at full angle, but in terms of safety, I think they're safer. Or it allows you to go faster."

Moving the Australian MotoGP round to earlier in the season has often been proposed to try and reduce the risk of bad weather.

"March. Quite clearly. At least we've got heat [then]," suggested Miller. "It's still Melbourne, you're still going to get the shit weather every now and again. But the window is bigger. Rather than having two good days in eight, you'd have five.

"Only problem is it's very close to the Formula 1 Grand Prix, for the GP commission or the GP committee, I think it's a very hectic time, and to try and do two things at once would be massive."

Safety Commission meetings are held behind closed doors, so it's not exactly clear which riders voted with Miller to continue, but the shortlist of rumoured names includes Marc Marquez, Johann ZarcoPol Espargaro and Alex Rins.

 

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