UPDATED: Jack Miller: It's happened a few times, I'm sick of it

Jack Miller strongly hints at poor tyre performance after practice dominance turns to just tenth place in COTA MotoGP qualifying; 'We cannot control everything. That’s the shame about it.'
Jack Miller, MotoGP, Grand Prix of the Americas, 2 October 2021
Jack Miller, MotoGP, Grand Prix of the Americas, 2 October 2021
© Gold and Goose

UPDATE: Without naming Jack Miller, Michelin's end-of-day Tyre Tech Notes point to a slower out-lap and sector 2 mistake on the Australian's second run:

'There was one complaint after Q2, but based on the immediately available data we note that there was a 20-second slower out-lap than normal for the 2nd run, so any perceived lack of performance could be attributed to the subsequent reduction in tyre temperature and pressure (which we need to confirm later after detailed data analysis) for the single time-attack lap. In addition, the biggest contribution to the lap time appeared to be the loss of 8-tenths of a second in sector 2. Run 1 was similar to Pecco’s first run in terms of lap times.'

"It’s happened a few times and I can tell you one thing: I am getting f**king sick of it. But anyway, it is what it is. We go forwards and hopefully it doesn’t happen tomorrow."

Those were the words of a visibly upset Jack Miller who went into COTA MotoGP qualifying fastest in both FP3 and FP4, and was singled out by Marc Marquez for a tow, but then couldn’t do any better than tenth on the grid (+0.939s).

The factory Ducati rider didn't directly blame his tyres but it was clear he felt a tyre performance issue was to blame on at least one, and possibly both, of his qualifying runs.

"I had a hard tyre on in FP4 and did a lap two tenths off what I could do [with a new soft tyre] in qualifying," he said. "And I did a 2m 2.9s in FP3 [on a new soft rear, 0.8s faster than in qualifying].

"So I don’t know [what happened in qualifying]. It wasn’t through a lack of trying, I can tell you that.

"As soon as I went out on track, I tried to push to the maximum but it didn’t work.

"Even though I want to, it is not something we will comment on [further] at this point. It’s just that I wasn’t able to do what I know I'm able to do.

"I will just try and do the best I can and whatever is in my control I will do it. But we cannot control everything. That’s the shame about it.

"The team has done a fantastic job all weekend, as they have done every weekend. I’m sorry for them but tomorrow is when they hand out the points. We’ll push to the maximum."

It isn’t the first time that Miller and Ducati team-mate Francesco Bagnaia, who went on to claim pole position on Saturday, have complained of tyre issues this year. "Yeah, we know…"

While clearly dejected to have seen a potential starting advantage over Joan Mir and Johann Zarco - ahead of him in the world championship - disappear, Miller took some comfort from Ducati predecessor Andrea Dovizioso's 13th to fourth place ride at the 2019 event.

"It's made the work harder. My championship rivals are in front of me with Zarco and Mir and they are definitely the ones we need to get in front of," Miller said.

"It’s not going to be the easiest race but if you look at what Dovi did a couple of years ago here when we raced last, he was able to come through to fourth. There were a few crashes that day but I have good speed, I have good potential and I feel good on the bike.

"We just need to get away cleanly, which is the most difficult thing from back there, especially with Turn 1 and for the rest just try the maximum to get in amongst those guys at the front as soon as possible and stay there."

Miller is fifth in the world championship, one point behind Zarco and 27 from Mir with four rounds to go.

The Australian's poor qualifying also hurts Ducati's chances of Miller taking points off Bagnaia's title rival Fabio Quartararo, who qualified second for Yamaha.

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