15 October 2014
MotoGP Australia: Miller ‘It was a dream to sit on Rossi’s bike’
"We have to go for victory in the three remaining races" - Jack Miller.
Just five years' ago, Jack Miller made his first visit to Phillip Island as a spectator. The teenager returns to his home Australian circuit this weekend fighting for the Moto3 World Championship.
"It was as a spectator in 2009, and I went there with my team-mate in the Australian championship - who during those years participated as a wild-card,” Miller said of his first Phillip Island visit. “It was the first time I had been to a World Championship race.”
And the stand-out memory of that weekend? "Definitely being able to sit on Valentino's MotoGP bike. It was after the race and back then it was a dream for me. It was very nice, and I have great memories of that."
Miller will be lining up against Rossi next season having signed to move straight to MotoGP with LCR Honda next season. But if he wants to join the premier-class as a world champion the Red Bull KTM star needs to overcome Alex Marquez's 25-point lead.
"It's true that in the last two races the results were not as we'd hoped,” said Miller, who led the standings until round 14 in Aragon. “At Aragon it was because we crashed after an incident, and in Japan because a mistake on the last lap stopped us from getting the win - although I have to say that the work prior to Sunday has always been excellent.
“Since Aragon we've changed our strategy a little for the practices, and the truth is that this has worked out very well for us. I've always been well prepared for the race and felt very comfortable with the KTM, which is working very well."
Miller added: "I am fortunate that the next two races are my two favourite tracks: Phillip Island and Sepang. So I have to use this to my advantage. I'll be back in Australia after many months away, and I can't wait. I want to thank all my fans for their support with a good result. We have to go for victory in the three remaining races."
As well as his visit to the grand prix, Miller also took part in his first 'Island race in 2009, as part of the Australian national championship. “You don't want to know [the result]. It was really bad. I didn't crash, but I was very, very slow. It was the first time I had ridden at such a long circuit, I did not know what to do and I got lost on the track."
Fast forward to 2013 and Miller produced a commendable performance with fifth in the Moto3 grand prix, riding an underpowered FTR-Honda. “I'm happy about that result. I started from the third row, so it was one of my best grands prix of last year."
"It is a very special circuit, and I don't just mean because it is a home round either,” Miller said of the famous seaside venue, south of Melbourne. “It's a very fast track, very open, where you have to give everything, be bold and not be afraid - to put it a nice way [laughs.] You also need to use good braking in a couple of places."
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