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Miller “really happy” with opening day Sepang showing

0.163 from top spot and P5 overall leaves the Australian feeling confident ahead of qualifying and the race in Malaysia

Alma Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller had a great start to the Shell Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix after ending the day P5 on the combined timesheets and just 0.163 off Alex Rins’ (Team Suzuki Ecstar) benchmark time.

On reflection, the Australian was understandably very happy with his day’s work: “I’m really enjoying it, it started off well this morning. I’m really happy,” began Miller, who worked on both long run pace on used rubber, and one lap pace on fresh Michelin tyres.

“FP2, we put the medium from FP1 back on and did 24 laps and we were still doing pretty good times. With 22 laps on the tyre we did a 2.04, that’s good considering the distance and that the tyre has been on since the start when the track was really green and it normally eats me up a lot quicker.

“So, I’m really happy with that. Our one lap pace has been really good, I’ve been able to do a few 59s today, completely alone, which on the first day, with some damp patches, we can be really happy.”

Miller is among a top six that are split by less than two tenths and he’s expecting Sunday’s race to be a big battle: “I expect there are a few other guys that aren’t there that should be there tomorrow and are just building up to it but a lot of the regular guys are up there; Marc, Dovi, Valentino, Maverick; they’re all looking really strong, so the race – I think – is going to be a good one.”

But what rear tyre is Miller thinking of running in the race? A soft is what plenty of riders were trying out today, but the number 43 rider isn’t so sure: “I saw a lot of guys testing the soft rear for race run style, even Marc tested it, which isn’t normal, so we’ll have to look at that. For us, from the test, our knowledge, and the data, I think the medium is for us.”

Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix: MotoGP™ FP2

As always, tyres will play a part in proceedings, but what about how his GP17 Desmosedici is working in general at the Sepang International Circuit? “The Ducati is working really well. We’ve got a couple of little things we need to work out, but generally, the race package is working really well around this track.” Good news then. And speaking of tyres... “It seems like we can manage the tyre really well, which is positive for us. We just have to wait and see for tomorrow and the weather and see what it’s going to do for the weekend.”

All signs are pointing toward Miller having a successful Sepang weekend. A confident Aussie is a fast Aussie, so can the Queenslander continue his good pace into Saturday and Sunday? 

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