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Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller pulled off one of the rides of the day at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya by racing through from 14th on the grid to secure a fourth top five finish of the season. In typical ‘Jackass’ style, he even jokingly admitted the result was aided by “a little help from George” - referring to the chaos on lap two.
It continued the Ducati man’s run of finishing inside the top five every time he’s seen the chequered flag this season, with his none finishes coming due to crashes in Mugello and Jerez and seat troubles at the opening round in Qatar.
“The good start was key I think in the race,” said Miller. “I knew all weekend long that we had good pace and that I could run the pace of the top guys. Just through one thing or another I was unable to put a lap time together or string a qualifying lap together and it really hindered us up to today.
“But I got away at the start really well, I was maybe in tenth or eight on the first lap, it was a really solid first lap. I was seventh on lap two and I went into the corner seventh and came out third, with a little help from George, so that was alright. But no, I’m sorry for those guys. It was a good old race with myself, Petrux, Fabio and Rins.”
The Australian was left dumfounded by the tyre life of Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins and Joan Mir, after battling them for fourth place in the final laps. Whilst saying smoke was billowing off the rear tyre of Rins, Miller was trying to be as “gentle” as he could with his Michelin rear. However, he was the one who suffered from grip issues yet the factory Suzuki man was able to maintain his pace.
“Again, it makes me scratch my head a little bit what Suzuki are doing to make the tyre last like they do. Because if you see how much smoke is coming off their back tyre, and how aggressive they are compared to us on acceleration, it really makes me wonder. I was so gentle the whole race on my tyre, really, really calm and just saying be calm because at the end of the race you’re going to come back towards them.
“I’ve seen it before here in Barcelona, you can make up nearly a second a lap if someone’s tyre is destroyed at the end of a race, but it didn’t seem to work out that way. They were able to keep the pace, keep the rhythm and not really have any moments.
“I saw Danilo, the other Ducati, on the last two laps was starting to struggle a little bit more but he was on the soft, so this makes me wonder if I should’ve opted for the soft rather than the medium.
But all in all, the Ducati rider was left pleased by his eleven-point haul in Catalonia, enough to move him two points clear of Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) in the Independent Team standings: “In general, a really good race, enjoyed it a lot. I felt really good on the bike, but I would’ve liked to have had a little bit more grip at the end of the race.”
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