Jack Miller returns to scene of last MotoGP win; ‘I feel I can be competitive'

With Francesco Bagnaia winning in Jerez last time out, and team-mate Jack Miller winning last season’s French MotoGP, are Ducati the favourites heading into Le Mans?
Jack Miller chequered flag, French MotoGP race, 16 May 2021
Jack Miller chequered flag, French MotoGP race, 16 May 2021
© Gold and Goose

After a difficult start to the 2022 MotoGP campaign, the Factory Lenovo Ducati team are beginning to unleash the full potential of its GP22 machine. 

A double top five finish in Jerez marked the second time that’s happened this season, while Bagnaia looked much more like the Bagnaia that won four of the last six races last year. 

The Italian, who is now close to full fitness following the right shoulder injury he suffered in Portimao, feels he’s found enough form to challenge at Le Mans despite it being a circuit he struggled at in the dry last season. 

"This week off has definitely helped me recover and let my shoulder rest after the two consecutive Grands Prix of Portimão and Jerez, which were very demanding,” added Bagnaia. 

“We are coming to France to a track that I generally like a lot and where I always enjoy riding, but it is definitely not an easy track either, as we struggled a bit in the dry last year. 

“Compared to last year, the weather should be better this year: no rain is forecast, and the temperatures also seem higher. 

“Our goal is to continue the excellent work done at Jerez and be competitive and fast here in France.” 

Francesco Bagnaia MotoGP race, Spanish MotoGP. 1 May
Francesco Bagnaia MotoGP race, Spanish MotoGP. 1 May

Are Ducati ready to dominate MotoGP again? 

Yes it’s been just one race and expectations should therefore be measured, however, Ducati showed just how dominant they can be when their bike is working well and riders hit form. 

Although we’ve seen Marc Marquez (Honda) and Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) show varying levels of dominance over the last few years, the end of 2021 was not just dominated by Bagnaia, but Ducati as a whole.  

Then came the beginning of this season, and if it wasn’t for Enea Bastianini, then Ducati would have been in major trouble. 

But the fact Ducati still has three wins out of six races - more than any other manufacturer - it just shows how high expectations were and still are for the Bologna bullets. 

While Quartararo is arguably the most in-form rider on the grid, a statement Aleix Espargaro and Aprilia might take exception to, don’t be shocked if Ducati begin fighting for wins with more than one or two riders on a consistent basis. 

Regarding Le Mans, Ducati have won the last two races at the Bugatti circuit, and although both of those came courtesy of wet conditions, a dry-weather win would be of no great surprise.

Could such a win come from Miller who desperately needs a result?

Miller’s last victory in MotoGP came at Le Mans as he took advantage of Marc Marquez crashing from the lead a year ago. 

With pressure mounting on his factory ride for 2023, a repeat performance would go a long way to keeping him in the fold. 

Jack Miller, Spanish MotoGP race, 1 May
Jack Miller, Spanish MotoGP race, 1 May

The Australian is yet to show the same level of performance as Bastianini and Bagnaia, so to win this weekend would require a big effort, but we’ve seen Miller do it before. 

"I'm happy to be back racing in France, where I definitely had some good memories after the win last year!” claimed Miller. “I really love the Le Mans track, and I feel I can be competitive again this year with the Desmosedici GP 22. 

"The weather forecast for this weekend is good, but the weather in this region always tends to be rather unpredictable. 

"In any case, I'm ready to tackle the weekend in any conditions to get another good result on Sunday in the race!"

Read More