motogp: jack miller fights back for front row in australian sbk qualifying

Jack Miller qualifies second on the grid for the Australian Superbike finale at The Bend Motorsport park.

Eighth after a late fall in Friday practice, Miller slashed one-second from his best lap during Qualifying 2 to beat all but championship leader Mike Jones (Yamaha).

“It’s awesome to be here. Unfortunately, we managed to drop a member of the team pretty early on – like you say, it was inevitable!” Miller said of a Friday wrist injury for Josh Hook, reducing the Thriller Motorsport line-up to Miller and Marcel Schrotter.

“But Marcel’s pretty safe, so I think crash damage was we should be good with him.

“It’s going good,” Miller continued. “We’ve been working on the bike session by session, just trying to understand – having no data logging or anything like that, the only data logging is the idiot sat on top! So we’re trying our best.

“I had a good lap going yesterday when I threw it in the ground, so I was pretty happy to put two decent laps together in qualy. It wasn’t quite enough for Mike, everyone’s riding really well this year, I think the field’s really stacked compared to last year.

“As you’ve seen over the weekend, we’ve been down outside the top 10. I’ve had to work for this one. But it feels good to be back on that front row.”

Miller: ‘Clutch lever is bouncing around in my hand’

Looking ahead to Sunday’s pair of races, Miller admitted: “I’m still very nervous about the starting situation.

“I’m very good at starting a dirt track bike, I’m very good at starting motocross bike. But I don’t know what it is with this thing, without launch control or anything like that, the clutch lever just starts bouncing in my hand and I start bouncing around like an idiot!

“So I feel sorry for every Joe blow that rides a V4R on the road and wants to race somebody off the traffic lights because I reckon it’d be pretty difficult!”

Miller was taken out of race one at The Bend last year, before claiming a popular podium with third in race two.

The 27-year-old is again riding a Panigale V4R with standard electronics but has switched from Michelin to Pirelli tyres for this year’s event, also his last race for Ducati before officially joining KTM.

ASBK championship leader Jones said: “It’s great to have Jack and his team here this weekend, it really boosts the profile of the sport.

“It’s not easy to just turn up [in a different championship]. It really shows the level of a rider to quickly adapt to change like that. It really shows how skilled Jack and all the other guys are in MotoGP.”

Cru Halliday (Yamaha) will complete the front row of the grid in third, with Josh Waters the next-best Ducati rider after Miller in sixth (+0.539s).

Schrotter was fifth in Qualifying 1, meaning a 15th-place start.

“This morning we made a step and Jack showed me around which helped for sure, but I struggled with the wind in qualifying. From P15 we can still get inside the top ten tomorrow,” said Schrotter, who is riding a Yamaha.

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