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Jack Miller faces a patient climb back to full fitness and confidence for the demands of MotoGP over the next two months.

A safety first ride to finish 17th in the Spanish GP was the first step in that process.

It was a crucial performance with Miller admitting that going the 27 lap race distance at Jerez was his sole target following the confidence draining setback of recent crashes. And risking further injury to his still fragile lower right leg with another crash following his painful spill at the previous race in Texas was not an option.

“What happened in Texas was a big setback in terms of my confidence, I can’t afford to do that again. I need my lower leg to heal without injuring it again,” Miller said.

“The problem is the bones still haven’t knitted together properly since I first fractured them in January, they’re held together with screws.

“I just need more time, maybe a couple of months. It was coming good before the crash in Texas but I’ve gone backwards from that.

“If I can get it right in the next six to eight weeks I’ll be getting to closer to normal.

“The only way to get fit for MotoGP is racing and going 27 laps in the heat at Jerez was my main target, it was important given my past couple of results.”

Miller was forced to adopt a safety first approach with a compromised riding style at Jerez after missing the Texas GP and crashing his Honda RC213V out of the Argentina race.

“I was happy to finish and apart from my ankle my physical fitness was strong at the end of the race,” he said.

“The problem was I lost all my time in the first seven laps, I tried to be cautious and I wasn’t fast enough.

“In the second half of the race my times matched Cal Crutchlow who finished 11th but in the opening laps I struggled at the three hairpin corners, I had no feeling at the front and couldn’t turn the bike.

“I was in safety mode in those corners. My normal style is to pivot off my right ankle but when I banged it hard in Texas it put me back to how I was before the first race in Qatar.”

Miller’s challenging start to the season, just two points from four races, has been complicated by missing crucial pre-season tests and the transition to Michelin tyres.