HIS qualifying position doesn’t show it, but Jack Miller made a setup breakthrough in final practice for the Grand Prix of the Americas.
Miller will start the race on Monday morning AEST from 18th on the grid. It’s a sharp drop from his pole position in his last start in Argentina, but his seventh fastest time in the preceding practice session illustrated that he has the pace to challenge for a top 10 spot.
Not that he was able to demonstrate that pace in qualifying.
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He crashed his No. 1 bike, the one with the setup change, at the end of that practice session, and his crew didn’t have enough time to translate the changes to his spare in time for Miller to fight his way out of Q1.
“We made a step in the bike geometry in FP4,” Miller said.
“I was really happy, improved my time on used tyres and was able to improve considerably and consistently. I was really happy with that.
“I came in, went out again, the tyre pressure was too high but I had a really good feeling with the bike.
“I carried maybe a little bit more speed through (Turns) 16-17-18, and then by the time I got to 19 I was going a little bit fast.
“I tried to make the corner but the front-end didn’t hold on for me.
“I’m really happy with what we found in FP4. The problem was, when I crashed the bike, we weren’t able to change the other bike’s geometry, so I had to go and do qualifying on the old bike.”
Miller was uninjured, but his brief runs gave him cause for optimism for race day.
“The race pace in FP4, I was really surprised with it to be honest, I was quite quick,” he added.
“Starting that far back, I mean, it sucks, but we’ve got to stay positive and give it our 100 per cent.
“I know we’ve got something in the bag, we’re just going to have to wait and see what we can do with it in the race.”
MILLER CARRYING INJURY INTO AUSTIN
Miller also revealed he is carrying an injury into the race weekend, one he picked up in the downtime since the Grand Prix of Argentina.
“I had a small off-track incident a week ago and injured my shoulder a little bit,” Miller said.
“It’s not giving me too much grief and it’s getting better day by day, but of course here isn’t the easiest track on that with all the changes of direction.
“Not using it as an excuse in any way though.
“I feel for the race we’ve got good pace, and we’re just gonna have to try and get a decent start and try and go with the guys and see what we can do.”
The race gets underway at 5am AEST.