With a front-row grid slot to utilise his fast-starting Pramac Ducati, Jack Miller has joked he’ll be leading by the first corner but will let his rivals repass him as part of his Valencia Grand Prix strategy.

The Australian rider was in the battle for pole position only to be shuffled back to third place late on by pole-sitter Fabio Quartararo and Marc Marquez in second place but with his first front row start since Silverstone he was pleased by his qualifying result.

Miller has been one of the standout starters in 2019, equipped with his Ducati GP19’s holeshot starting device which lowers the bike to create better drive, and hopes to get ahead of his fellow front-row starters before using a conservative strategy to preserve his tyre life for the race distance.

“I don’t really want to be leading but I know how the bike starts so I probably will be by Turn 1. If one of the boys wants to come through I will try to leave a gap!” Miller said.

“Mine probably does get off the line the best and can be pretty wide sometimes. I think my biggest thing is as we saw in Malaysia, we got off the line great but then it was all downhill from there so tomorrow it is all about trying to pace it out to get the right tyre choice prior to the race.

“All weekend we’ve been fast. I think I was more in Fabio’s boat yesterday struggling a little bit more with my pace but I found a step, especially in FP3 and then FP4, I am feeling really good.

“I didn’t expect to be that close let’s say to pole and the other boys, especially Fabio and Marc over one lap. I’ve felt good all weekend and I was able to throw at it in qualifying. I had a few moments but it was a lot of fun.”

Miller also expects to use the Michelin hard rear tyre for the Valencia GP to avoid a late race drop off with excessive tyre wear as he targets a fifth podium of the year.

“I think the hard tyre is going to be the main one for me on the rear just depending on the conditions,” he said. “We need a little bit of that sun to come out. Even though the wind is really cold that sun helps us a lot.”

The Australian rider can still overhaul Fabio Quartararo for the MotoGP Independents rides’ title but needs to win the race and see the French rider finish in 14th place or lower to turn around the 23-point deficit going into the 2019 finale.

 

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