JACK Miller couldn’t have asked for a better first day in Ducati red.
Fifth place on the timesheet underscores a solid first day of MotoGP testing after the Valencia season, Miller’s first chance to get a handle on the Pramac Racing Ducati that he’ll be racing in 2018.
The bike Miller rides is the 2017 Desmosedici – the same one that gave Andrea Dovizioso six race wins and second place in the world championship.
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And – so far – it’s better than he expected.
“Have fun so far,” Miller told crash.net.
“I really enjoy my time with the team, not just on the bike, but also with the crew and the staff that I have here.
“In terms of lap time, it’s two tenths of my best time so far, but we haven’t touched the bike yet, so hopefully we’ll get through this afternoon and play around a bit more as soon as I get more at home, more adapted to the bike and we’ll see what the lap times and do. “
The 22-year-old spent the first three years of his MotoGP career on a Honda, the last two on a motorcycle, a few steps down in specification from what the world title is.
Miller leaves the Pramac garage for the first time. Image: Pramac RacingSource: Supplied
While both the Honda and Ducati have a reputation for being difficult-to-drive bikes at race pace, Miller said the Italian machine was a better fit for his riding style.
“It’s different,” he said. “I can read the front tire very well, especially this morning when we drove out and the track was so dirty and so cold, especially on the right side.
Miller speaks to Gigi Dall’igna, Ducati’s technical director, with as many Ducati factory employees as the Pramac crew in the garage. Image: Pramac RacingSource: Supplied
“I have a very good contact feeling with the rear tire, and of course the speed is there too; We all know the Ducati was one of the strongest on the straights and it’s definitely nice to finish that thing for sure.
“The braking stability is really very good, I haven’t really found the limit when braking because it’s just so strong.
Miller got both bikes off the deck on his first day aboard a Ducati! Image: Pramac RacingSource: Supplied
“The bike definitely doesn’t do as much wheelie as the other, and I enjoy that. Makes it easier to just focus on the line.
“This morning I got carried away a bit on a completely used tire and was able to turn the tires to hell. So I definitely have to be a little gentler on my wrist, I think, but the rest of the bike seems to suit my style. “
Miller will spend another day of testing in Valencia on Wednesday, which you can watch live on FOX SPORTS, before there is a final test for 2018 in Jerez before the winter break.