Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller joked that his heart rate jumped 50 beats a minute after Maverick Vinales’ late crash saw the Aussie claim a home podium with just three corners to go in Phillip Island.
Miller had strong pace through the weekend, however not able to get a strong run in qualifying, Miller’s work was cut out for him come race time. Able to get away with the leading group, Miller took his time to ensure he had enough of a tyre beneath him that come the end of the race he was able to make moves.
Slowly picking off riders, Miller found himself moving past the Aprilia duo of Andrea Iannone and Aleix Espargaro, then past Valentino Rossi and into the top five. Despite some late pressure from Andrea Dovizioso and Pecco Bagnaia, Miller found himself in the perfect position to capitalise on Vinales’ late mistake to secure a well-earned podium.
“You never want to see anybody crash, especially like that with two corners to go, but it is what it is,” said Miller in reference to Vinales’ late crash.
“I saw these boys put the soft tyres on, on the grid and I thought hmm they’re pretty keen, because on the majority of the dry track we’ve had this weekend I was able to do some laps on the soft and my consumption was far too high. So, either these boys have got something a lot more than I have in throttle control, or they’re hoping it’s going to rain.
“Fourth looked like the best I could do, I just sat back there and when Danilo [Petrucci] had his big crash at the start I was a little bit nervous as I went into turn two with the hard tyre, he came around on me, and I was able to grab the gas a little and power out of it. I went wide and it lost me a couple of positions, but it was a very violent crash and I just hope he’s alright.
“I just sat back there, step by step, Valentino went flat out off the start and got a big gap and I was thinking that’s pretty keen, but then he started coming back to me, the Aprilia’s started coming back. Rins went past me at turn two, went forward for about ten laps then started coming back.
“Then Dovi came past me and I thought this is it, we’ll just cruise to the end. Then with ten laps to go, Pecco came past and he was into it. It was, let’s just say motivation for me, teammate, younger team mate, rookie, here at Phillip Island I was thinking he’ll burn out in about 3 laps, but he got out in front and started pushing the pace.
“I was able to get past him in the end. Dovi passed me into turn one, but I saw his rear tyre was done as he nearly highsided at turn two and then I just went insides for the remainder of the lap. Then over at turn nine I saw dust and then the heart rate probably jumped up about 50 beats per second, because I thought now, I’m in third.
“Inside, inside, inside and as I went, it was up to full power to make sure nobody could pass me on the home straight.”