Romano Fenati once again topped the time sheets but with half a second separating the top eight riders it is clear that all is to play for this weekend in Qatar.
Jack Miller, racing for the Ajo KTM squad, starts the season touted as title favourite and after finishing the day fourth fastest the Australian was confident that his pace and consistency on worn tyres will give him an opportunity for a strong showing this weekend.
“It was pretty good and we definitely have the pace with the older tyres and then when we put on the new tyres for the last two laps it felt good,” said Miller.
“The bike is handling pretty good but we’ve a few issues to work through with the front end but I think we’re on the right track.
“In Turn 1 and Turn 2 we’re very quick but in Turn 3 we seem to be losing a lot when I release the brakes over a bump and the bike gets unsettled, but we’ve got ideas and I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend,” he added.
“It’s going to be a close race. When you look at the times today it shows you that it’ll be close but I’m confident that we’ll have a good shot. The Hondas have good speed but it will be interesting.”
While winning the race is the clear target for Miller he did comment that finishing on the rostrum and getting his title campaign off on the right footing was the most important aim for this weekend saying.
“Everyone wants to win the opening GP but we’ll take whatever we can get. I’ll be happy with the top three here but finishing the race is the main thing and then doing the best job we can do.”
Miller comes into the season in the unusual position of being a likely title contender without having won a Grand Prix but he is taking it all in his stride.
“It’s not very difficult. It’s not as bad as it seems, I’ve fought with these guys before so I know what they’re like and I feel it should be good,” he said.
“There’s a bit of extra pressure but not all that much, I’m just focused on doing the best job that I can do.”