Jack’s in fine form as the MotoGP calendar switches to North America and a crack at COTA.

Race: Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas
Round: 3 of 19
Date/time: Sunday April 22, 2pm local (5am AEST Monday April 23)
Circuit: Circuit of the Americas: 20 corners, anti-clockwise
Distance/laps: 5.5km, 20 laps
2017 podium: Marquez-Rossi-Pedrosa

Jack’s world championship results in Austin
2017 (MotoGP): qualified 12th, finished 10th
2016 (MotoGP): did not start (foot injury)
2015 (MotoGP): qualified 19th, finished 14th
2014 (Moto3): qualified 1st, finished 1st
2013 (Moto3): qualified 4th, finished 6th

Jack’s preview: Lost in the saturation coverage of other incidents and their aftermath in the race in Argentina last time out was arguably Jack’s most convincing MotoGP weekend to date, with his maiden premier-class pole position in sketchy wet-dry conditions preceding an outstanding run to fourth in the race. A podium would have been just reward for Jack after his reading of the conditions all weekend was spot-on, but he heads to Austin with plenty of confidence after two top-10 results to start the season, and two points-scoring efforts at the Circuit of the Americas in his pair of MotoGP starts (he missed the 2016 race with a right foot injury after a crash in practice). Jack headed to California rather than back to Andorra between Argentina and Austin, throwing himself into some training before enjoying some downtime at the Indycar event at Long Beach last weekend, where he was taken on a hot lap of the circuit by American racing legend Mario Andretti. Jack has won at COTA before – from pole on his last Moto3 visit in 2014 – and he sits sixth in the championship standings, a career-best in MotoGP, after the opening two rounds. After the majority of riders on the grid voiced their disapproval of the uneven COTA surface last year, recent work done to “shave” the bumps will be under the microscope when opening practice begins on Friday.

Jack’s Austin highlight: His Moto3 win (by 0.069secs from Romano Fenati) four years ago is the obvious high point, but on the bigger bikes, last year was by far his strongest showing, making Q2 for just the third time in his MotoGP career to that stage, and finishing 18 seconds behind race-winner Marc Marquez after spending the entire 20-lap distance inside the top 10.

Jack says: “I’m frustrated but semi-satisfied as well (with Argentina). Knowing my past record in previous years I wouldn’t have made it past the first lap with that much pressure! It was a positive weekend for us, I had the feeling back I had in (testing in) Thailand and Malaysia. There are so many guys on competitive bikes in the field, you can’t doubt anyone. Independent teams winning and nearly dominating the podium last week … it’s pretty impressive and it’s just going to get better and better as the year goes on.” (from pre-event press conference)

Check back with jackmiller.com.au on Monday April 23 for a report of Jack’s race.

Photos courtesy of Alma Pramac Racing.