Pramac Ducati rider Jack Miller said that he thinks he has matured into his role within the satellite team after securing his fifth podium of 2019 with a third-place finish at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia.
The Aussie was quick off the line from his front row start and quickly found himself battling with Quartararo for the lead. The Frenchman started edging away and Miller was soon behind eventual race winner Marc Marquez. Marquez went on to win his twelfth race of the season and Miller ended in third behind Quartararo.
Miller’s second half of the season form saw him claim three podiums in the final six races of the season, leaving him feeling as if he has really grown into the role.
“Going into the year, to get a podium or two we would have been happy, but I feel I have matured into the role a little bit,” said the 24-year-old.
“You see it this weekend, it has been a real statement to what we have learned throughout this season. We’ve been pushing from FP1 on Friday, working on the race pace, then we were able to run the race pace of the other guys throughout the whole race and it was a fast race. So, I think it speaks for itself.
“I kind of knew I was going to get the hole-shot, but I didn’t expect Fabio, I thought it was going to be Marc straight underneath me and trying to bolt, but Fabio had good pace there at the start.
“I was trying to not take too many risks, it was quite chilly out there, the wind was blowing a fair bit, so I just tried to not take too many risks in the first couple of laps. I felt really good, was a long race, the pace was fast and furious, once Marc got past, I wanted to settle in, but through one way or another I ran way too deep at turn one and Rins came up next to me. I managed to shove back him out the way, put my head down and chase these guys.
“Once I got back on the back of Fabio, I had a big moment on eleven and twelve with the wind, wheelie and then the crosswind just blew the front wheel out from underneath me. But once I regrouped myself and started going, I got into 31 mid to low, and started coming back to Fabio and thought ‘oh I have a second wind here’, but it was short lived.
“I was just yo-yoing, I would catch a tenth on him one lap, he would put a tenth on me the next lap. Honestly the last eight laps were the longest laps of my life, I was looking like eight, seven, six praying for the end. It was really easy to get caught out with that cross wind. Turn two and six was pretty treacherous on the brakes, just trying to get the thing to turn you had to start 25 meters earlier.
“I feel I rode a smart race, probably one of my best races in MotoGP. The boys were pushing, well Marc wasn’t towards the end there, we could see that. It kind of breaks your sprit a little bit, you’re there chewing the handlebar and you watch him just yo-yo to you and from you and he’s just cruising. But I’m very happy to be up here and an amazing way to end the season.”
With everything wrapped up coming into the final weekend of the season, rumours were rife with unexpected rider movement for 2020. Miller found his name behind one of the rumours, which would see him move into the factory Ducati team alongside Andrea Dovizioso with current factory rider Danilo Petrucci moving aside.
When asked about the rumours, Miller said: “For Petrucci we have to remember back to Mugello, he rode a perfect race and through one way or another he has lost his feet for the moment and I am sure he will be back.
“When it’s a slow week in the press, a lot of these rumours get made up. I don’t put any credit behind them, I haven’t had a lot of chats with anybody. I even saw on the internet this morning someone took me talking with Davide Tardozzi in between the trucks. But all it was, was Davide telling me not to destroy my rear tyre. But it was on there talking about 2020 contract and all of this.
“I don’t put any basis behind them. We’ll just let it see, Danilo is a race winner, he’s had in a rough pace, but we all get them now and then, but he’ll be back.”