A gracious in defeat Jack Miller has paid tribute to Franco Morbidelli for his ‘awesome’ performance after coming out on the losing side of a thrilling final lap head-to-head in the Valencia MotoGP.

Arguably Miller’s most complete race event in MotoGP yet, the Australian featured at the head of the timesheets throughout the weekend before qualifying on the front row before launching a thrilling fight-back in the closing stages of the race having gamely stayed within range of a faultless Morbidelli through the first three-quarters.

Setting the fastest lap with 10 laps remaining to announce his fight back, Miller was on the tail of his Yamaha rival coming by the time they rounded the final lap. Using his Ducati’s top speed advantage to sweep past on the run to turn one, Miller lost his momentum with a wide exit that allowed Morbidelli back through into Turn 2.

A couple of overtakes and retorts that worked in Morbidelli’s followed, leaving Miller to just miss out on glory for the second time in 2020 in an echo of his missed opportunity on the final corner of the Styrian MotoGP too.

“It is unreal to be back up here - that race was a lot of fun, I enjoyed every minute of it,” he musedt.” Franco ran an incredible pace at the front, I just tried to hang on with my teeth and we were able to do that, then mid-race I felt really good, even on the medium front when the boys were on the hard. 

“I was able to push from the start and feel comfortable, and mid-race I started coming back to him, I was thinking ‘ahh, this is alright’, rubbed my hands together a bit!

“I had this mega plan figured out in my head where I would pass him on the straight with one lap to go and ride into the sunset, but it wasn’t to be as I soon found out when I went into Turn 1 and nearly went straight off the end. There was a bit of tailwind and I got a bit carried away I guess…

“He came back, turn two was nice and tight, then into four and five, he got the better of me. I nearly ran onto the grass at turn seven trying to pass him, but he did really well to protect the line. Massive congratulations to him, he rode awesome.”

Though victory - of which he was just 0.9s shy - would have marked Pramac’s first in MotoGP almost two decades on from its debut, Miller was pleased to get back on the podium with just one race to go before he steps up to the factory outfit in 2021.

“It is nice to have that luck turn around a bit. We have been fast each weekend, for one reason or another we haven’t been able to pull it off. 

“Onto Portimao, a sort of unknown, so it will be exciting to get there and finish the championship. It’s good the championship is wrapped up and we can go out and try our best, let the best man win.”

 

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