Miller starts weekend in Catalonia with second fastest time


Positive first day for Red Bull KTM Ajo rider, amongst the top three in both practice sessions. Karel Hanika, nineteenth, debuts at the Catalan track and suffers a harmless crash.


Scorching temperatures welcomed the World Championship to Barcelona on Friday, with a very hot day on track for the riders. That failed to stop Jack Miller and Karel Hanika from carrying out their work for the day, however; Miller went from strength to strength in both sessions, placing amongst the top three at the end of each run. Meanwhile, the rookie rider in the Red Bull KTM Ajo team followed the formula of the last three Grands Prix, learning the track in the morning and looking for the best setup in the afternoon.

The Grand Prix weekend began with plenty of experimentation for Jack Miller, with the changes allowing him to finish off the job started on the testing day at Mugello. He was then able to significantly lower his times on his last stint to mark the third fastest time of the session -1:52.221. Karel Hanika was again one of the riders to complete the most laps, with 18 in the morning and just a single stop in the pits. He set the twenty-second quickest time of 1:53.789 at a completely new track for him.

The Czech rider needed only four laps to improve on that times, clocking a 1:53.313 that allowed him to move up the timesheets and place nineteenth. However, shortly after setting that time, a crash at Turn 10 prevented further improvement. Miller waited until the last part of the session to find an excellent pace and was one of four drivers capable of riding in the 1:51s. His 1:51.944 time put him second.

The Grand Prix of Catalonia continues tomorrow with qualifying the main course of the day. It starts at 12:35pm local time.

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Niklas Ajo (Husqvarna) 1:51.930
2. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:51.944 +0.014
3. Isaac Viñales (KTM) 1:51.945 +0.015
4. Romano Fenati (KTM) 1:51.952 +0.022
5. Niccolo Antonelli (KTM) 1:52.177 +0.247
19. Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 1:53.313 +1.383


Jack Miller >> Audio (solely for radio use)

“I think that, both for me and for the KTM, this a very favourable circuit at which we work very well. We are especially strong on the brakes. We’ve got a good setup, but we’re still working on it. If we continue in this way we can be happy. I feel very comfortable on the bike now. There are only some small settings where we can still improve, like with the front grip, but I am confident that we will get better for tomorrow.”

Karel Hanika >> Audio (solely for radio use)

“The first practice session was not too bad. I tried doing the usual strategy of trying to learn the track well and make as many laps as possible. Already in the first session we did well, because I was always alone and set consistent times. In the second session I felt more confident. I was riding fast, with good times and I think I was up into tenth, but at Turn 10 I highsided hard. I did a bit of damage to my finger, but nothing serious. After that I went back out and set similar times to my previous pace, so this is good ahead of the qualifying session tomorrow.”