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Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) heads into qualifying day at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas as the quickest Ducati rider on circuit after finishing Friday as the fourth fastest man in the premier class, his 2:04.005 just 0.148 off Maverick Viñales’ (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) P1 time.
With rain forecast for FP3 on Saturday morning, the last ten minutes of FP2 saw the premier class riders go into qualifying mode as a top ten place became vital. And Miller would comfortably make it into what looks set to be an automatic Q2 spot, with the Australian happy with his day’s work.
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“Yeah we’re happy. Day 1, we’re inside the top ten, this is the main objective as the weather for FP3 doesn’t look ideal so we had to put a good lap time down today,” began Miller. “The bike is working really well, I feel comfortable, the track is a little bumpy but you know we’re managing to make it work and I feel quite comfortable.”
The MotoGP™ race winner explained how the wind caused a few issues in FP2, while also eluding to the fact that he’s the top Ducati rider so far at the Circuit of the Americas. Teammate Francesco Bagnaia is the only other Desmosedici rider inside the all-important top 10, with factory riders Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) and Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) 11th and 13th respectively.
“It was a little bit more difficult this afternoon with the wind,” continued Miller. “Especially in the first sector and the chicanes, as you were changing direction quickly is was blowing you over a bit and pushing you wide. As you know in the first sector it’s one line the whole way through so yeah, happy to be back in the top four and yeah top Ducati today so you know, tomorrow and Sunday are of course when it counts but we’ll be happy with that today.”
Aforementioned, rain looks set to sprinkle the COTA surface for at least the morning sessions on Saturday. Miller is unsure how he’ll fair in wet conditions, but he’s hoping it will dry up ahead of qualifying in the afternoon.
“We’ll see, it only looks like it will be wet in the morning. The afternoon it looks like a lot of wind will pick up, blow the clouds away and hopefully dry the track. I think that was why FP2 was so important to us, we really had to get a lap time in, and now we’ve done that we can focus a little more on setup. Especially on the bumps, trying to get the bike to absorb these bumps a little bit more or the best it can and I think this will be key for the race.”
However, before the race we have qualifying – and a potentially wet one at that. Saturday looks set to be an intriguing day at the Americas GP, so don’t miss Miller and co on track for FP3 at 09:55 local time (GMT-5), with qualifying getting underway with Q1 at 14:10.
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