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Aussie Watch: Bad to worse for Miller, Moto3™ duo duel

Matt Clayton
Monday, 3 June 2024

Jack Miller’s barren run continued at Mugello on a weekend where he learned he’d lost his ride for 2025, while there were points for two compatriots in the feeder classes.

Jack Miller endured a fifth Grand Prix without points in seven starts this season at Mugello, the Australian finishing 16th for KTM on a weekend where it was announced he’d lost his seat with the team for next season to Pedro Acosta.

Miller, who arrived in Italy off the back of three straight DNF’s for the first time in his MotoGP career, had his worst qualifying in 121 races when he was just 19th in Q1, and he finished out of the points in 12th in Saturday’s Sprint.


Sunday’s Grand Prix started with more promise – he gained six places on a strong opening lap – but he fell back outside the points on lap five and finished 28.417secs behind race-winner Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati), and 12.5secs behind teammate Brad Binder (10th).

Miller said a vibration issue he’d been battling all weekend made him more cautious than he’d normally be in the race, mindful that he’d not even seen the chequered flag in Spain, France and Catalunya.

“I got off to a decent start, but I didn’t have the pace,” he said, acknowledging that Monday’s post-race Mugello test has come at an ideal time.

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“When the rear tyre came back to me I was able to have a decent race with [Yamaha’s] Fabio [Quartararo], I was able to get him later on in the race. But a lot of effort for no points.

“I wanted to push more but after three DNFs in a row and the way the front was feeling, I knew that if I continued to push I’d end up on my head sooner rather than later.

“This has been by far the worst track for us. Jerez was pretty bad, Le Mans was a little bit, but here has been by far the worst. Fortunately for us we’ve got a chance to test tomorrow in these conditions.”

After another non-scoring weekend – his third this season – Miller has scored just five points in the past four rounds to fall to 16th in the standings with 27 points.

In Moto3™, Australian duo Jacob Roulstone and Joel Kelso spent much of the lightweight-class race locked in a seven-bike battle pack for the back-end of the top 10, Roulstone finishing ninth and Kelso 12th, the pair split by 0.236secs.

The race was halted after a lap three crash between Xabi Zurutuza (Spain, KTM) and Filippo Farioli (Italy, Honda) at Turn 9, and restarted over 11 laps.

From sixth (Roulstone) and 10th (Kelso) on the reformed grid, the Red Bull GasGas Tech3 and BOE Motorsports riders were never in touch with the front-running pack, but scrapped in the second group in a typical Mugello slipstreaming affair, both running as high as seventh and as far back as 12th.

Roulstone took his fourth top-10 result of an impressive rookie season to climb to 10th in the championship standings with 42 points.

"We're happy to get another top 10 result, although I am a bit annoyed with myself for the decision to go with the medium tyre, but we learn from these mistakes,” he said.

Kelso, who announced ahead of the weekend that he’d riding for the Level Up-MTA Moto3 team for 2025, hasn’t finished in the top 10 for three straight races after doing so in the first quartet of Grands Prix, but retained seventh place in the championship with 46 points.

"With the restart I thought the [soft] tyre would be the best option with the 11 laps, but the soft tyre for me makes it so difficult to stop the bike, it pushes me out," Kelso said.

"It was just a struggle-fest for the 11 laps."

The race was won by CFMOTO rider David Alonso, the Colombian victorious for the fifth time in seven starts this season to extend his sizeable series lead.

In Moto2™, Senna Agius came back to earth after his career-best fifth in Catalunya last weekend, the Australian finishing out of the points in 17th.

The 18-year-old qualified a season-worst 27th but used a strong first lap to vault to 22nd, and moved forward bit by bit from there but ended the race 2.5secs outside of the points. Agius was 15.564secs behind race-winner Joe Roberts (Kalex), the American taking his second career victory.

"It was one of those weekends where I struggled to get a feeling for the bike,” Agius said of a maiden visit to Mugello he described as “head-scratching”.

“We tried a lot, and I also changed my riding style to make it better. It's true that we improved, but we couldn't keep up with the steps the others were making."

The Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP rider sits in 17th place in the championship with 16 points after seven rounds.