Jack Miller miraculously walked away unscathed from a massive crash in final practice for the French MotoGP, with his Marc VDS Honda going off track and slamming into the tyre wall.
The young Australian lost control of his Honda at break-neck speed as he started a lap during the fourth round of free practice. Miller saved a near fall from his RC213V on the exit of the ultra-fast turn 1-2 right hander, but was spent spearing off-track in the process.
Miller let go moments before slamming into the trackside barrier, after which he and his machine were launched into the air.
The Australian would return to qualify in 11th place.
“It was a nasty crash and I'm lucky to walk away with just some bruises," said Miller afterwards. "I had some locking on the front through turn one which sent me towards the wall and when I saw I wasn't going to stop in time I let go before I hit the wall."
After a medical check a shaken Miller took his place in Q2 on his spare bike despite the discomfort of swelling on his right knee and bruised right hand.
Among those shocked by the accident was Miller's friend Cal Crutchlow and factory Ducati star Andrea Dovizioso.
"I was right behind him," said Crutchlow. "I stopped at the side of the track to make sure he was moving. As you know, Jack's a big friend of mine, to see something like that, it was not nice.
"He didn't do that much wrong, that's for sure. He didn't grab a load of brake or anything like that. What he did do well, he did well to save the crash because he could have gone off on the right and he could have released the brake and went straight. The problem is, there's a wall there.
"It's not nice to see that at all, but I'm glad he got back up. He's got some balls, because going back out, straight away basically."
"Wow. So scary," commented Dovizioso. "It's one of the most difficult crashes and you can't control when you lose the front in the fast corners, going the opposite way, it was really reactive to pick up the bike again. So dangerous."
Miller then suffered a far more gentle fall at the final turn on his way to eleventh in qualifying.
"In Q2 I went quicker on my first run, but my hand was not perfect after the crash and I struggled to stop the bike on the brakes in the final corner and touched the kerb," Miller said.
"A shame but I'll be ready for the race after I get some ice on my hand and knee to get the swelling down.”
Team manager Michael Bartholemy added: “After the crash in FP4 I wasn't sure that Jack would be able to get back on the bike for qualifying. But after a medical check he went out and showed how tough he is and how much he wanted to be on the grid. I know he is disappointed to be 11th on the fourth row but I am happy for this result after his big crash."
Meanwhile, Jorge Lorenzo has suggested Jack Miller got a ‘warning from God’ in his French Grand Prix practice crash, after the pair clashed during a MotoGP safety commission meeting on Friday evening. Lorenzo was not impressed by what he feels was a lack of respect from Miller. Lorenzo commented that: “I think that today God picked him up and said, ‘Today isn’t the day you get hurt’.
“It was a similar crash to the one Marquez had at Mugello in 2013. It gave him [Miller] a warning that MotoGP is no joke. It’s now up to him if he takes this advice onboard or not."
Spaniard Maverick Vinales took pole position for the French Grand Prix at Le Mans on Saturday with his Yamaha teammate and MotoGP leader Rossi qualifying alongside.
Valentino Rossi leads Vinales in the standings by two points after four races with Marquez a further two behind.
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