Jack Miller says he's content with a Top 10 on debut for the Pramac Ducati squad in Qatar, despite finishing further off the lead than he did on the Honda 12 months ago.
The Aussie kicked off his 2018 season with 10th place on the Pramac Ducati, coming home 14.59s off race winner Andrea Dovizioso.
That was slightly worse than he managed a year earlier on the Marc VDS Honda, when Miller finished eighth, 14.48s behind winner Maverick Vinales.
However Miller says there were still signs during the Qatar race that his move to the Ducati will yield a step forward in results, claiming the similar result came a lot easier on his new bike than it did 12 months ago.
"Compared to last year, I finished a tenth of a second (literally 0.108secs, someone told me) further back from first place than here in 2017, which isn’t great," Miller wrote in a column on the Red Bull website.
"But it's not all bad, because last year I was pushing like crazy and maxed it out to get to eighth, and this year I know we have way more potential than that and I was still the same 14-ish seconds off the winner.
"It didn't feel like I could have done much more last year, but there's way more to come from me and this Ducati.
"It's one race of 19. [It's a] long season … The team seemed pretty happy, and for me, it's natural to be disappointed because us riders always want more, even the guy who wins wishes he could have won by more most of the time.
"But we'll be okay in the long run."
Tyre wear decisive
Reflecting on where he lost out to the frontrunners in Qatar, Miller said nursing the front tyre was the deciding factor.
"I was in okay shape hanging onto the main group for the first bunch of laps, but got a bit of a warning at the second-last corner eight laps in when I had a decent moment, and you could tell I needed to manage the front tyre life a bit more," he added.
"That was when my pace dropped off. I never did a lap of 1min 55secs after that, and the pack got further away from me.
"I was hardly the only one to drop back; Johann [Zarco] led the race for most of it from pole and fell back massively at the end to finish eighth, while someone like Maverick, who started behind me and was a fair way back from me in the early laps, ended up flying through and finishing sixth.
"How much tyre you had left at the end was the deciding factor, really."