Miller: “It wasn’t meant to be today”, Binder: “Small lock and that was it”

Jack Miller was left ‘wanting more’ after a sixth place in Sunday’s storm-shortened Japanese MotoGP, which saw KTM team-mate Brad Binder crash out.
Jack Miller, MotoGP race, Japanese MotoGP, 1 October
Jack Miller, MotoGP race, Japanese MotoGP, 1 October

After rain on the grid, Miller and Binder were among the majority of riders to pit for their wet bikes at the end of the opening race lap.

Both were then working their way up the order when the South African, runner-up in the dry Sprint on the new carbon fibre chassis, locked the front and fell from tenth place on lap 6.

Binder remains fourth in the standings, but his fourth Sunday non-score means he is now 118 points from Francesco Bagnaia.

“We were fast in all sessions and to bring home a podium in the Sprint yesterday was fantastic but unfortunately today it was tricky with the weather conditions and we came in after the first lap for the bike swap,” Binder said.

“I started to feel good in the rain and with good pace but I had a small lock going into Turn 3 and that was it. Thank you to my team for their hard work. We’ll try and make up for it next time around.”

Miller, fourth in the Sprint, briefly broke into the top six but then seemed to lose some pace on the soft rear wet tyre (the leaders had the medium).

The Australian was classified sixth when the race was halted and had been looking forward to the restart. But conditions failed to improve and a final result was called.

“Not the best day but also not the worst and I’m happy we finished,” said Miller, who qualified on the front row.

“It took some time for the tyres to get going in the first part and I managed to save the rubber while gaining some time on the guys as the rain started to fall harder.

“We made a couple of tweaks to the bike to try and challenge those boys for the restart but it wasn’t meant to be today. Sixth place today but I wanted more.”

Miller is now ninth in the world championship, just ten points from the absent Luca Marini and 14 from Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales.

Red Bull KTM team manager Francesco Guidotti suggested that, given the increasing rain, it may have been better to delay the original start.

“A strange Sunday! Having a flag-to-flag after one lap meant that a delayed start might have been a better decision but it is like it is,” he said.

“No wet practice during the weekend meant we were quite conservative with our settings and electronics. It’s a shame.

“We had a very good GP from Friday until this afternoon. After the Quali and the Sprint yesterday our expectations were high.

“In conditions like these anything can happen. It was a weird and tricky situation but our riders gave their best.”

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