Jack Miller: ‘I saw Marc there on the last lap...’

Jack Miller’s worst qualifying of the season put him in the thick of the turn one action at the Malaysian MotoGP, where he was ‘hung out to dry’ and dropped to 21st place.
Jack Miller , MotoGP race, Malaysian MotoGP, 23 October
Jack Miller , MotoGP race, Malaysian MotoGP, 23 October

Starting 14th after a nasty highside in qualifying, Miller got a decent launch off the line but ended up being pushed to the outside at Turn 1.

“I’m happy enough with my performance, but getting knocked back to 21st on the on the first lap probably didn't help,” Miller said. “One of the worst starts in my Grand Prix career.

“The start itself was OK, I just got sort of sandwiched with the row in front of me, had to roll out early and then kind of got stuck on the outside and hung out to dry [at Turn 1] basically.

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“I hate it when people say, ‘if I got a good qualifying, I could have fought for the victory’ or whatever. Qualifying is part of the job. Yesterday we weren't good enough and didn't get it done.

“But when you get stuck back with those guys in sort of tenth place and back, she gets pretty dodgy there on the first lap. I hadn't been back there in a while and it wasn't very fun!

“I was at least able to get through at least the first lap safely and then start my race from there basically, picking off guys lap-by-lap.

17th by the end of the opening lap, Miller wrestled his way forwards to ninth at the middle stages, the passed Joan Mir and Brad Binder for seventh heading into the final lap.

“It was a long race. I just kept my head down the whole time. We had a decent pace all weekend and we were able to show that in a race,” said the factory Ducati rider.

Marc Marquez, MotoGP race, Malaysian MotoGP, 23 October
Marc Marquez, MotoGP race, Malaysian MotoGP, 23 October

Miller: ‘I saw Marc there on the last lap...’

Miller lined-up his final pass of the race by taking sixth from none other than Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, into Turn 4.

“I saw Marc there on the last lap, I was getting closer and closer and closer,” Miller said.

“I was pretty gentle [on the tyre] throughout most of the race and was able to have a little bit more [rear grip] in reserve say compared to Marc at the end.

“Through corner 3 I was able to really drive onto him and basically get the pass done before the braking zone at Turn 4.

“So I was happy enough. The bike was performing really well. I put the front tyre through a fair bit of stress with all the overtakes the bike stayed pretty good.

“The [front pressure] warning came up when I was behind Oliveira. So up until about lap 8 maybe. But once I got past him I was able to get a bit of clear air.

“Honestly, it felt cold after being behind all those bikes! But it was pretty brutal race. It’s always hot and humid here.

“It’s not only the temperature when you are behind other bikes, but the roost as well. The front windscreen was smashed to bits by the end. Getting bits of rubber and rock and whatnot smacking your neck at 350k is not really nice!”

Jack Miller crashed bike, MotoGP, Malaysian MotoGP, 22 October
Jack Miller crashed bike, MotoGP, Malaysian MotoGP, 22 October

Miller’s physical condition was already far from ideal after the big impact from Alex Marquez at Phillip Island the previous weekend and then the heavy Saturday highside.

“Yeah, another big hit yesterday. The body feels toast, as you can imagine,” Miller said. “Having this issue on the leg. I'm not able to use it as I would like.

“The rest of the body has sort of been compensating for the lack of strength in the left leg. So yeah, definitely feeling it now, but happy enough to be able to have the condition to push all the way to the end.”

Combined with victory by team-mate and title leader Francesco Bagnaia, Miller’s sixth place helped Ducati Lenovo secure the 2022 teams’ title, to add to the constructors’ crown, with Bagnaia now on the brink of the riders’ title.

“It's not over yet [for Bagnaia], but it's a lot less pressure going into Valencia now,” Miller said. “He's just got to ride as he knows how to do, and I'm sure they'll be right. But yeah, it was pretty tense in there [pits] throughout the weekend.”

Miller will start his final race weekend for Ducati holding fifth in the world championship, 22 points behind Enea Bastianini and 21 in front of future KTM team-mate Brad Binder.

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