Miller ‘kicking myself’ about points lost, MotoGP ‘like last year on steroids’

The fact that other MotoGP World Championship frontrunners failed to score big points at Le Mans only added to Jack Miller’s frustration at his double DNF.

The new Red Bull KTM signing was fast in practice and qualifying, then featured at the sharp end in both races.

But his Sprint challenge ended with a fall on lap 2 then, after leading the early stages of the grand prix, Miller slid out of seventh place.

Three other riders ahead of Miller in the world championship also crashed out - title leader Francesco Bagnaia, Luca Marini and Maverick Vinales - on a day when just 13 riders reached the finish.

The returning Marc Marquez was the final addition to that DNF list. Add in a Sprint fall for Yamaha’s former champion Fabio Quartararo and only five riders managed to score in both Le Mans races: Jorge Martin (32), Marco Bezzecchi (28), Johann Zarco (20), Brad Binder (19) and Aleix Espargaro (13).

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“More than anything, points,” Miller said of his main frustration after the race. “We're not that far back [45 points] from the lead. And on a day when a lot of guys, including Pecco and Vinales, scored zero as well, it could have been a really good day for points. And we didn't take any, so kicking myself about that.”

Five different riders have taken victory in the ten races so far, with Miller among the eleven riders to stand on the podium. No one has scored points in every race, with Bagnaia leading despite three Sunday DNFs.

“We're [only] five [rounds] in and we've seen f**king everything!” Miller said of the roller-coaster fortunes throughout the grid. “As you know, this championship will continue like this. This year is like last year on steroids.

“Everybody's so competitive, we see guys one week struggling, the next week they're riding away from everybody.

“So it's a tough one to gauge and honestly a tough one to understand who - obviously Pecco - but who else are your real [title] contenders.”

‘If the rider is not feeling 98%, it's a shit day’

“It's a knife edge, this championship. Everybody is so good, all the bikes are so competitive, if the rider is not feeling 98%, then it's a shit day,” Miller explained. “Really, if feels like that. I can't explain it.

“The championship's in great form, as you've seen there's some great racing. OK, there's a lot more contacts, and there's this and that. But it's all a part of it. Everybody's under so much pressure. So much to gain and lose. It's nice to be a part of it.”

Bagnaia fought back from 91 points down, and overcame five DNFs, to catch and pass Fabio Quartararo for the 2022 title.

While the 2023 calendar again features 20 rounds, the addition of the Saturday Sprint race means 37 points are now available each weekend, rather than the previous 25.

Miller’s team-mate Brad Binder is the leading KTM rider in the world championship, 13 points from Bagnaia, in third.

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