Miller races to top 10 in intense home race battle
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller treated his home crowd to a dazzling and daring display of attacking riding to claim a brilliant top 10 finish in today’s Michelin Australian Grand Prix.
Miller was at the forefront of a thrilling seven-rider battle that was as spectacular and breath-taking as the Phillip Island track in a 27-lap race that provided non-stop action throughout.
Starting from a MotoGP best grid position of fifth, Miller established a fast pace after taking the gamble to race Michelin’s hard compound asymmetric front tyre.
The 21-year-old Townsville star had not completed one flying lap on the hard option front tyre prior to the race after the weekend was dominated by constantly changing weather conditions at the Phillip Island track.
Miller quickly found himself locked in the most intense battle of the race, with Scott Redding, Bradley Smith, Danilo Petrucci, Stefan Bradl, Hector Barbera and Nicky Hayden all playing their part in an epic encounter.
Roared on by a crowd of 36,500 fans, Miller engaged in close combat with the group and it was a scrap that eventually came down to a nail-biting and intriguing final lap showdown.
Miller gave his all in a dramatic final 4.448km lap and he took the chequered flag in 10th position, with Redding finishing three places ahead of him by the narrow margin of just 0.5s.
Today’s race was a difficult experience for Tito Rabat, who showed his customary resolve to battle on in trying circumstances. All the lost track time due to adverse weather conditions prevented Rabat from finding a confidence-inspiring set-up with his Honda RC213V machine, but he gained more precious data by finishing in 16th position.
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS now heads back to the Far East to complete the final leg of the flyaway triple-header at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
Jack Miller: 10th
“I think that’s what you call a heavy battle! It was an intense race and I enjoyed it. It got a bit scary at times because you have no idea who is going to lunge up the inside from one corner to the next. Going into Doohan Corner at over 330kph it was getting a bit crazy because it was a case of who dared brake the latest. It was a lot of fun and good to have a good old-fashioned scrap because it helped me learn a lot. The important thing was to finish with some decent points and I did that. I also think the home fans could see how determined I was to put on a good show for them and they definitely got good value for money from us. I felt I could have been in a better position after qualifying in fifth but I got a bit messed up on the last lap. I took a risk to race the hard front Michelin tyre and I’d not done one flying lap with that option before the lights went out. But it was the rear tyre that was causing me a few issues because I had a few moments. I was losing the rear on entry and ran wide a few times but I’m happy with a top 10.”
Tito Rabat: 16th
“Today’s race was the end to a very difficult and frustrating weekend but I am happy to have ridden sensibly and finished the race to get some data and experience that will help me in the future. But it was probably the most difficult weekend of the season for me. The weather hasn’t helped me at all this weekend with almost every session not running in normal conditions. That cost me laps to improve my confidence on the bike and I started the race not really knowing how the bike or the Michelin tyres were going to perform. I will keep learning and pushing to try and be more competitive in the final two races but to finish more than one minute behind the winner is a disaster.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“I think Jack certainly gave his home crowd here in Australia some fantastic entertainment. He was involved in a really tough battle and he would have gained a lot of experience racing in such a big group of riders who were willing to make and take some hard moves. He finished inside the top 10 and I am satisfied with his performance because he fought right to the end for seventh place. It was good for him to get a strong finish under his belt after a difficult period through injury and a lot of crashes in Japan. Today will give him a lot of confidence and we can look forward to him fighting for the top 10 again in Sepang. It was a difficult weekend for Tito and all the disruption from the weather didn’t help him because he needs time on track to get a better feeling with the bike. He still rode a determined race and made sure he gained valuable experience by not making mistakes and bringing the bike home to a finish. But his pace has to improve and he understands that.”