Local hope Jack Miller put in his best qualifying performance of the season ahead of Sunday’s Australian MotoGP but the rising star was still frustrated at what might have been.
Miller, 20, was pushing for a top-10 berth during practice at Phillip Island on Saturday but had to settle for qualifying in 15th position – surpassing his previous best of 16th at Indianapolis and Silverstone in his rookie season.
“I would have liked to have been a couple of spots further up and I know we could’ve,” Miller said.
“I got a little bit of traffic in the first run then the second one we weren’t far off but it’s not ideal … there were a few mistakes made by myself.
“We gave it everything we had today but it wasn’t to be.
“We tried hard but we’re struggling a whole heap in the last sector – it just seems to catch me out every time.
“I’m not so happy with that but that’s how it is.”
Miller forecast a long night of tinkering with the set-up of his LCR Honda, which he said was still a long way from where he wanted it going into his first Australian MotoGP.
The Queenslander will start from the fifth row, with reigning world champion Marc Marquez leading the field off from pole position after he continued his blistering form at the Phillip Island circuit.
“I’ll start from 15th and it will be an interesting race,” Miller said.
“It’ll be a bit scary for the first couple of laps, especially coming into turn one with all those bikes.
“It’s going to be eye-opening but hopefully we can hook on with some of the (quick) guys because I feel we’ve got the pace to run with the faster guys and see where we are at mid-race when the tyres start to die.”
The other two Australians on the MotoGP grid, Anthony West and Damian Cudlin, were late injury replacements – West for AB Motoracing Honda and Cudlin for IodaRacing Team.
West will start from 23rd and Cudlin will be the last rider away from 25th position.
Joshua Hook, the only Australian representative in Moto2, will start on the eighth row of the grid in 24th position on his Technomag Racing Kalex.
Remy Gardner, son of 500cc world champion Wayne, suffered a fractured finger in a Moto3 qualifying crash but will take his place on Sunday, starting on the 10th row in 29th position.