MotoGP Austria: Jack Miller: New chicane the ‘most aggressive change of direction on the calendar’ | MotoGP

Miller, who was fastest in FP1, then went on to claim P2 on combined times behind Johann Zarco in what was a much more representative second MotoGP practice in Austria.  

Overnight rain had left the Red Bull Ring damp for the start of FP1, but as is so often the case in such conditions, Miller appeared to be right at home finishing six tenths clear of Zarco.

“The bike is working well. I’m enjoying it a lot,” said Miller.

The Australian also went on to share his thoughts about the new chicane which prior to the weekend getting underway was thought to have potentially taken some of Ducati’s straight-line speed advantage away.

However, based on the opening day of practice the Bologna Bullets seem to be just fine – six Ducatis finished inside the top seven with only reigning MotoGP champion Quartararo able to get amongst them. 

“The new chicane is a nice addition to the track,” stated Miller. “It’s completely blind heading in there and into the braking zone. In the first free practice there were a lot of guys running wide because it comes up on you really quickly. 

“But getting the understanding of it is really fun. You have a lot of changes of camber when you go in so the bike is moving around a lot and I’m burying the rear brake a lot, getting it sliding going in before the most aggressive change of direction on the calendar. 

“It’s a lot of fun and it spices it up. It makes turn three a better corner for overtaking and for sure it’s a lot safer.”

During Miller’s run of fast laps in the closing stages of FP2, KTM’s Miguel Oliveira suffered a strange crash whilst just ahead of the Ducati rider. 

Oliveira ran wide on the exit of turn nine before losing control of his RC16 when attempting to come back across the curb.

Worried he might be collected in the process, Miller said: “I was worried about where the bike was going. You saw me sit up and grab the brakes and the best thing for me to do was accelerate past him because he was decelerating. 

“But yeah he sort of went off-track and then as he came across the curbs. Obviously he tried to come across the curb with the wrong angle and a little bit too slow. 

“But for sure it looked like he was coming back across my line for a moment but then it levelled out and the hills sort of pulled him straight again.”

Is the new MotoGP-specific chicane in Austria an even bigger advantage for Ducati than before? 

As mentioned above, Ducati were expected to be slightly more affected by the new chicane than others, however, most of the Italian manufacturer’s riders proved that braking and acceleration on the exit of the chicane were just as big a benefit as the previous version of the Red Bull Ring was.  

It’s difficult to say that a circuit which has seen Ducati win six from eight races could suit them even more following an adjustment, but that’s precisely what Zarco believes. 

“My opinion on the new chicane is what I was thinking, which is that it’s quite slow. So we kept a good advantage with the Ducati and maybe we can use even better our advantage on the brakes and acceleration,” added the French rider. 

“I’m happy for this and it also makes turn three easier because you arrive slower and you have more possibilities in turn three. 

“Then you try things during laps, you don’t miss your laps and then you can repeat. For this reason I was happy to be on the bike. 

“We can work better with the team and I hope in the dry we can move forward to then play with the bike and be competitive.”

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