Jack Miller struggled to hide his disappointment on Sunday afternoon in the wake of a “strange” Malaysian Grand Prix, a race that was beset by a lack of front grip and “guys running into the side of me for no particular reason.”

The Australian was quietly confident after qualifying in fourth place on Saturday, and felt he had the rhythm to finish on the podium. But three laps into the race and Miller was already struggling with his soft front tyre while running with the leaders.

“Lap by lap it got worse and worse,” he said as of the subsequent laps during which he gradually dropped down to eighth. His mood wasn’t helped by a series of tough moves put on him, which he described as “just suicide moving it up on the white line.”

Contact with Alex Rins at turn 15 pushed both men wide and Miller admitted he was fortunate to avoid being taken out by Johann Zarco later in the race, who, in turn, had been hit by Joan Mir.

On Rins’ move, Miller said, “It's not the first time, it's not the last time, so. It's racing, we have to touch, but sometimes, the Suzuki turns well, so I guess it's inviting to be able to make moves like this.

“But it's difficult for us on the Ducati, especially on such a corner like this with off camber, hairpin, very slow, we need to sort of square it up, but as soon as you do that, you leave a little bit of space for guys to do this.

“He was obviously in a hurry to get through, I guess. Marc did it there as well, same thing, but he was a little bit more polite about it, let's say. Rins really did just drive into the side of me. There was contact coming from both ways, let's say.

“Because I'm on my normal line, just trying to ride my normal line like I do every lap. And like I said before, that Suzuki turns well. I mean, Barcelona, there's many tracks on the calendar where we've had moments like that.

“I was prepared for most of them, to be honest, even when Mir – I think it was the same moment he took out Zarco, I haven't see the crash – I was very lucky, going into turn 14, I was on my normal line, and I just heard boom boom!', like a bike downshifting, and I knew somebody was coming, because they kept doing it throughout the whole race.

“And as I went into the corner, I heard that and I stood it up just to be sure, and honestly, he missed my front tyre by about that much, otherwise I would have been in the gravel too. So I just tried to ride a smart race, stay out of trouble, and I gave my maximum.”

Asked whether he regretted choosing the soft front tyre, Miller continued: “Not regret, because Dovi had the same tyres and was able to arrive to the podium. The start was good, I got to the front.

“I didn't have to push very hard on the first laps, to be honest, because sometimes it happen that you raise the pressures too quickly, with the Michelin tyres. I was in the front so I just tried to control the pace, to build slowly into the race.

“But on lap three or four, I started to struggle a lot with the soft front, mainly on the right side. And lap by lap it got worse and worse, and to be honest, in the last couple of laps, turn three I could barely put any lean angle, which is not really a stressful corner for the front, you're more pushing the rear there.

“But I had no grip, I was understeering the whole way through that corner, I had a few moments, I guess you guys saw on the TV, with losing the front. And between that and many guys just running into the side of me for no particular reason.

“I was just trying to do my pace, I was running consistent 2'00, the laps that I had big jumps down in the times were simply because somebody was having a lunge at me in one corner or another, especially in these big long right handers, where you wait and cut back, more or less.

“A lot of guys were just suicide moving it up on the white line, and just hoping that they can block me on the exit. It was quite a strange race.

“We finished, I was able to bring it home with some more points, but I really felt like we had the pace today for the podium fight. Just since the beginning I was feeling that I was struggling a little bit too much.”

Rins was asked whether he felt he had done anything wrong in the final corner Miller move. He was unrepentant: “For sure not, for sure not.

“If I made something wrong then the stewards would make me a long lap penalty or something like this. This is racing. He opened the door and I tried to enter. This is MotoGP.”

 

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