With a morning of testing the Octo Pramac Ducati GP17 under his belt, Jack Miller spoke to the media to give his first impressions. The Australian was happy, especially given how fast he has been so far: Miller is just two tenths slower around Valencia on the Ducati after 40 laps than his fastest lap on a Honda.
Here is what Miller had to say:
Question: How has it been so far?
Jack Miller: A lot of fun so far. Really enjoying my time with the team, not only on the bike but also with the crew and the staff I have here. It's exciting times for me in my career at the moment, and I'm really looking forward to spending more time and more laps on the bike. I'm just starting to get comfortable with it now. I'm really enjoying riding it, so we will see what this afternoon will bring. But the way that I've adjusted to the bike directly and the way I feel on the bike, I'm really comfortable on it, so it just needs more laps and more time to keep going.
Lap time wise it's two tenths off my best time here so far, but we haven't touched a thing on the bike yet, so hopefully this afternoon, we'll go through and we'll play around a little more once I become more at home, more adapted to the bike and we'll see what the lap times and do.
Q: Is the Ducati a difficult bike to ride?
JM: Different. It's different. As would be expected. It's a completely different manufacturer, completely different bike, and I'm enjoying it. It's behaving well, I get a really good reading off the front tire, especially this morning when we went out and the track was so dirty and so cold, especially on the right-hand side. I had a good feeling already from that. The mechanical grip from the bike is there, I feel really good contact feeling with the rear tire, and of course the speed is there as well, we all know the Ducati's been one of the strongest on the straights, and it's definitely nice to get the thing wound up, that's for sure.
Q: Did you speak with Casey Stoner about the bike beforehand?
No, never. I've spoken to Casey very briefly a few times, but nothing about the bike.
Q: Is this a bike which suits your style?
JM: I hope so. This morning on a completely used tires I got a little bit carried away there, and I was able to spin the hell out of the tires. So I definitely have to be a little bit more gentle on the wrist, I think, but the rest of the bike seems to suit my style. The braking stability is really really good on it, I haven't really found the limit on it in terms of braking, because it's just so strong.
Q: Did you try the aerodynamic package yet?
JM: No, not yet. We started off with a base bike and we've got the aero fairing there, but whether or not we use it at this test or not we don't know.
Q: Was the bike like you expected after watching it riding it behind it for the past couple of years?
JM: Definitely. I was expecting of course a bike that had good contact on the rear, good exit, but also I'm really surprised at how good the entry is on the corner. And also mid-corner, the feel I get, especially through the double right here [Turn 4 and Turn 5] where you don't really touch the brakes that much in the second part and you roll in there, the bike's turning really well and I'm having a lot of fun.
Q: How is your relationship with your new crew chief (Cristian Pupulin)?
JM: Really good. Really good. We're getting along really well so far, and I'm looking forward to many more times with him. He's a very calm and placid guy, and sort of somebody I need in my corner.
Q: You are the first Ducati rider who says the bike is turning really well?
JM: Yeah? Well maybe some of them need to go and ride other bikes.
Q: It took Lorenzo the best part of a year to adapt to the Ducati, any idea how far along you are in your adaptation?
JM: Well, I was two tenths off my best lap round here so far this morning, and hopefully we will go under that this afternoon.
Q: What are you having to do differently?
JM: Not an awful lot. The bike definitely doesn't wheelie as much as the other thing did, and I'm enjoying that, because I can focus more on riding, especially on a tight go-kart track like we've got here at Valencia. Makes it easier just to focus on the line. The rest of it, just step by step adapting, how the bike accelerates, how the bike enters, and also mid-corner, and the different lines you sometimes have to take. The two are completely different.
Q: Worried about the fact Ducati struggled at Phillip Island, your home race?
JM: Yeah, but if you look back to Casey, no matter how bad Casey had gone throughout the year, he was always able to put it on the top step at Phillip Island. I think if you look at guys who have gone well there, Lorenzo with the Yamaha was always quite fast at Phillip Island, but he was very inconsistent as well. Dovi is someone who has never been the fastest at Phillip Island ever. Iannone is always fast at Phillip Island, and two years ago, he was like a rocket there, so I don't think it will affect us too much.
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