News 25 Mar 2023

'Big step' fires Miller to the top of MotoGP Portugal practice

New best lap around the Portimao circuit for Australian rider.

Image: Supplied.

Firing to the top the of timesheets to commence his stint with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing in MotoGP, Jack Miller has indicated a ‘big step’ was made with the new engine and chassis on the RC 16.

Miller set a new MotoGP best lap of a 1m37.709s on his way to leading Friday’s season-opening proceedings, convincingly earning a direct spot in qualifying two at the front of the field.

Making his effort even more impressive, he improved 1.2s from the time he set at the venue during the pre-season test earlier this month and was 1.1s clear of the next best RC 16 rider Augusto Fernandez (GasGas Factory Racing Tech3) in 16th.

“With the new engine, we made a big step,” Miller explained. “With the new chassis, we made a big step and then also with the change in philosophy in terms of electronics and so on, we’ve made a massive step.

“Exit by exit, session by session, I feel like I can make this bike more and more my own and also start to exploit the strong points of the KTM on entry with front feeling. The bike gives me a great sense of confidence in the front because you get an amazing reading off the tyre.”

In terms of the practice classification after day one, Miller leads Maverick Vinales (Aprilia Racing Team) and reigning champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), the top three separated by just 0.147s.