Jack Miller on Pole in a spectacular wet Qualifying for Argentina GP
Jack Miller says he had to ignore his instincts and what his Pramac Ducati was telling him as he powered to a maiden MotoGP pole position in drying conditions at Termas de Rio Hondo.
The Australian rider took the gamble to switch to dry tyres midway through the pole position shootout in Q2 and immediately found lap time gains on the drying circuit.
While Miller blitzed the first two sectors, he suffered a number of heart-in-mouth moments around Turns 7 and 8 which remained wet throughout qualifying but on his final lap the former MotoGP race winner pulled out a 1m 47.153s to snatch pole from Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa in a staggering performance.
Reflecting on his feat for a first MotoGP pole position, Miller says he was partly in survival mode using dry tyres on the wet sections but knew the lap time was available despite the signs he got from his GP17.
“My mother always said I never listened and I guess it was the bike telling me something and I wasn’t listening,” Miller said. “I knew if I could survive that one corner the rest of the track was more or less dry so I had to try to make up as much time as I could in the first two sectors, sacrifice that one, and then in the last corner it was more or less dry.
“I was in survival mode at those points as it was so slippery. You cannot explain how slippery it is in the puddles with slick tyres, a minute bit of gas and the thing was going on its own. I was trying to survive.
“I was just hanging on. In those moments I was a passenger when you are on the wet with slick tyres anything you do you’ve got to hang on and hope to God that you make it to the other side.”
Miller says the mid-qualifying switch to slicks was vital so he could notch up a handful of feeler laps before hunting a top time to understand the grip from the dry tyres on the wet surface.
“When you go from wets to slicks they are a lot heavier to turn, so you've got to get the timing right to stay in that wheel width of dry line,” he said. “So just to get that flow, you've got to go out there and pretty much go all in straight away and try to get the heat, because these tyres don't work otherwise.
“You've just got to go out there with a lot of confidence and try to muscle it as much as you can.”
Assessing the Argentina MotoGP race ahead with the weather forecast remaining unsettled for race day, Miller says he’d prefer a dry race because of the heightened challenge of a race distance in the mixed weather while he is wary of tyres overheating in changing circuit conditions.
“I would prefer a dry race as 25 laps around here in the wet is not going to be fun,” he said. “We’ve seen what the rain is here which is very unpredictable, some sections can be dry and some sections can be wet, and the tyres overheat very quickly so I prefer it to be dry as it makes everything a lot easier.”