In a surreal record-breaking lap, Jack Miller set the fastest time in Friday practice at the Portuguese Grand Prix, surprising everyone. But the first to be surprised is the Australian from KTM.
Jack Miller, who after five years with Ducati makes his debut this season on the critical KTM, led the second free practice session of the Portuguese Grand Prix with the fastest lap in the history of the circuit (1’37.709) and at the end of the day declared : “I’m as surprised as you are”, commenting on his unexpected performance.
In addition to being the fastest and breaking the record, the most surprising thing about the Australian is that in the first practice of the day, in the morning, he was 12th fastest, improving by 1.9 seconds in the afternoon. “To be honest, I’m just as surprised as you are, especially with the weather,” said Jack Miller. “I’m not surprised by the improvements, but by the time. I didn’t expect a 1.37, but I accept it,” he laughed.
“We have worked very hard, and when I say ‘we’ I mean mostly the engineers. In the last four months I haven’t done anything in Australia. They listened to everything I said, my comments, my wishes and requests,” he said. added.
KTM was not extremely competitive on Friday, with its theoretical spearhead, South African Brad Binder, finishing in 12th place, more than eight tenths behind his teammate. For Miller, however, the progress made during the preseason has paid off.
Jack Miller, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
“With the new engine we made a big step forward, and then with the new chassis, and also with the change of philosophy in terms of electronics and so on,” he continued. “We made a huge step forward and from start to finish, from session to session, I feel I can make this bike my own and start exploiting the strengths of the KTM,” he said, comforted by a spectacular result.
“In corner entry, the feeling with the front gives me a great feeling of confidence, lap after lap, corner after corner, because you get an incredible reading of the tyre. Today I had a couple of moments where the bike gave you incredible sensations and I was able to save those falls”.
Despite his impressive flying lap, Miller is reluctant to let himself be carried away ahead of Saturday’s short 12-lap race, which makes its debut on the MotoGP calendar. “We’ll just focus on our work,” he replied when asked if he could start thinking about fighting for the podium this weekend.
“As I said. I didn’t expect a 1.37 today. It’s very nice. Also, being able to use the soft front tire on the KTM for a time attack like I was doing with the Ducati is very good, very different from what they (KTM, ed ) did in the past. We’ll see what we can do in Q2. My target today was to get back into the top 10 and we achieved that by a considerable margin. After that, the sprint race will be an all-out attack.”
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