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Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller will start tomorrow’s HJC Helmets Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland from the middle of the second row of the grid and as the best Ducati, after saving the blushes of the Bologna factory after a nightmare day in Germany.
The saving grace for Ducati Team’s Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso further down the grid, in 12th and 13th, is that Miller is predicting a tyre lottery in Sunday’s German Grand Prix after some riders did their fastest Q2 laps on the hardest available compound, a tactic Miller himself tried: “We did the lap time pretty similar to this morning. I knew I was able to do the lap time, but I felt most comfortable on the hard. Already, yesterday, when I put the hard on, it was more like a race simulation, trying to do laps on it.
Petrucci's front end folds at 200km/h
“Then today, after that info from yesterday I thought it’s not really working so much as a race tyre. It’s like a soft would normally feel as a qualifying tyre. I made the plan, decided to do three exits, one lap each. Then I felt the hard, I messed up turn 1, but I was able to do a sort of decent lap, then I needed an extra one on it because it was feeling good.
“Then I threw another soft on at the end, it was good, I got through sector 1 really well but, at that point in time, I had nearly 6 laps on the front tyre and she was just a little bit too much. The other guys who used the three-stop strategy, they swapped bikes and used another front tyre. We’ll take it, we learned from it, the first Ducati on the second row, around here is quite important because it’s a bit of a parking lot on the first lap, especially with so many bikes around here.”
Miller ended FP4 down in 17th, over a second adrift of Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez, but he believes that isn’t a concern: “FP4 on paper looks bad. I started on a 16 lap medium, I did 5 laps, I had a few moments on entry, I started having highside moments, so I came in and put on one of the softs from FP3 and just put some laps on it to see how it was behaving because the medium has better wear than the hard.
MotoGP™ Q2 in Germany: The fight for pole position
“So, I wanted to put some more laps on the soft to see how that was going because not too many people had done too many laps on the soft, so we were trying to understand how much wear it was going to have. Just trying to decide the tyre for the race is more about deciding which is going to last the longest, not the lap times, but which is going to be most consistent.
“I’m no closer to deciding my race tyre than I was on Thursday afternoon. We’ll do the analysis tonight and understand which one is going to work the best. We’ve done a lot of laps on all the tyres, so we know exactly where we’re at on all the tyres, so now it’s just putting it down to the boys and they’ll analyse it and we’ll get onto it.”
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