Team orders not discussed, but Miller to use ‘common sense’

Team orders have not been discussed between Ducati and its riders Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller. Australian to use ‘common sense’ and not 'dive-bomb' his team-mate. 
Francesco Bagnaia, Jack Miller, Emilia-Romagna MotoGP, 23 October 2021
Francesco Bagnaia, Jack Miller, Emilia-Romagna MotoGP, 23 October 2021
© Gold and Goose

For the second time in a month Jack Miller will line-up second to team-mate Francesco Bagnaia. 

Although qualifying for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix produced the same top two as September’s Misano (1), today’s Q2 was a much closer affair as Miller got within 25 hundredths of Bagnaia - three tenths was the margin last time. 

Leading into qualifying Miller had slightly edged Bagnaia for consistent pace this weekend, but after the Italian got more FP4 running done and also used Q1 to his advantage, it was time spent in the tricky conditions that helped the 2018 Moto2 champion prevail. 

Even so, Miller was pleased with his day’s work despite the weekend being ‘pretty hectic’ thus far.

Speaking in the post-qualifying press conference, Miller said: "Satisfied with the front row and the weekend up to this point. We’ve been strong in all conditions and I think we’ve been top three in every session. 

"It’s been pretty hectic so far, a lot of moments, thankfully I’ve been able to stay on (the bike) until this point. 

"Leading into qualifying without having any laps done with slicks was kind of stressful, or let’s say you were thinking about it a little more. But thankfully the work we’ve done through the test has helped us out today. 

"I think we have a decent base setting and I was able to get out at the end of FP4 once I saw that everyone stopped falling off. There were a lot of boys going down at the beginning, and I was like ‘ahh, I’ll just wait a bit’, but I got in three laps and could understand where the wet patches were, how the bike was working. 

"We made a little adjustment for the dodgy conditions of Q2 and was able to put in a couple of decent laps. 

"It was really hard to get temperature in the left-hand side of the tyre. I had multiple moments at turn six. 

"It seemed like you had to find a balance of how much you could push today. Every time I pushed a little bit more once I had my banker in, then I would have a moment and it would cost me the lap."

With Bagnaia’s title rival Fabio Quartararo all the way down in P15, the Italian has a great opportunity to claw back a substantial amount of points in tomorrow’s race. 

Miller along with three other Ducatis (Luca Marini, Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco) will all line-up ahead of the Frenchman which could also play a factor. 

But with Quartararo so far down, it also raises the question whether Miller would be given more leeway to battle Bagnaia a bit harder than normal.

This was brought up to Miller who said team orders haven’t been discussed and that he wants to see a Ducati win above all, while Bagnaia gives them the best chance at that.

"Nobody’s said anything to me about team orders up until this point. As far as being a rider, it’s just about having common sense," added the Australian. 

"We all want the same thing, we all want to see a Ducati win, we all want to try our best for that. At the moment Pecco is our biggest chance, so for sure, for me it doesn’t change anything and I’m here to do the best that I can do. 

"We’ll see what happens in the race. For sure, Pecco’s speed around here can’t be doubted and I don’t think it will change how my race is going. 

"I’ll just try to tag along to the back of him, or if it works out like in America and I can be faster than him then for sure I would like to get passed. 

"But it’s not like I’m going to dive-bomb him every three corners and try to send us both off the track. It’s just common sense more than anything."

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