Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller doesn’t regret choosing the soft front Michelin in yesterday’s Sepang MotoGP as Andrea Dovizioso made the same decision and managed to claim a podium spot in Malaysia.
Miller, who had to contend with the very close attentions of Alex Rins, lost grip early in the race after a good start and slowly slipped backwards as his GP19 began to understeer.
“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,” said Miller, speaking at the track.
“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. 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.”
Miller had to contend with an aggressive Alex Rins, who lost a wing in a collision with the Australian, as well as other riders trying to take advantage of a Ducati weak spot on the track.
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.”