"How am I? I'm hot," Jack Miller laughs at the question of how his first day on the Ducati MotoGP was after the hiatus. The weather in Jerez is boiling hot, but the Australian rider is relaxed. He already has a contract in his pocket for joining the official team next year.
“Joining that team is an honor for me," he said. "I know there are expectations for me, but I'm calm about it. Last year, I got on the podium five times. Everyone expects me to move forward. But I also know that this will be a special season, a bit strange, so you have to stay calm, because you'll pay for any mistake."
The Pramac team rider spent his lockdown in Australia, training with a motocross bike, before leaving for Spain.
“I don't know if it was an advantage. I 've never ridden a road bike," he reflected. "Cross is not comparable to MotoGP, neither in terms of power nor anything else. It helped me keep fit and mentally focused, but this test day was needed, for both the riders and the technicians, in order to get some rust off, also since the three free practice sessions will be basically qualifying ones. I feel confident for Sunday, but I don't think it'll be a very fast race. We'll have to save our energy in this heat."
Jack was fast, especially in the morning, while he wasn't that focused on the flying lap in the afternoon.
“I'm pretty happy with how the Desmosedici behaved," he said. "Before today, I had only tried the GP20 in Malaysia and Qatar, and it hasn't yet shown its full potential. Then the wind proved to be a problem in the afternoon. I was struggling to make the bike turn, especially in the last sector. I know this is not the best track for us. We would have started better in Losail, but there will be others where we can show all our potential."
During the stop, there was lots of talk about Ducati's difficult adaptation to the new rear tire brought by Michelin, but that's not a problem for Miller.
“I'd say that it's not at all," he emphasized. "In the winter tests, I was among the fastest. Today, I tried different combinations of compounds. I'm fast with the medium on the rear and the soft on the front, even after many laps."