This website uses cookies for analytics and personalised content. View our Privacy Policy for more information on cookies.
Skip to main content

Aussie Watch: Miller spills, Kelso and Roulstone score

Matt Clayton
Monday, 11 March 2024

Jack Miller’s crucial 2024 MotoGP™ season got off to the worst possible start in Qatar, while Aussie Moto3™ duo Joel Kelso and Jacob Roulstone both banked points on Sunday.

An early-race crash saw Jack Miller’s MotoGP™ season start go from bad to worse in Doha, the KTM rider throwing away a strong opening to the Qatar Motorcycle Grand Prix with a lap two crash that saw him remount before finishing last.

From 11th on the grid and after finishing 10th in Saturday night’s Sprint, Miller made a brilliant getaway in Sunday’s Grand Prix from the fourth row of the grid, immediately marching to sixth place within two corners as Ducati’s Pecco Bagnaia assumed the lead at Turn 4.


Miller was re-passed by Ducati pair Fabio Di Giannantonio and Alex Marquez by the end of the first lap, and then crashed at Turn 1 at the start of the next tour, his low-side seeing him skittle across the asphalt run-off before he was able to rejoin at the back.

The 29-year-old was able to catch Honda’s Luca Marini and pass the Italian on lap 10, but Marini returned the favour with four laps left to leave Miller in 21st place at the chequered flag, 42.761secs behind race-winner Bagnaia.

With KTM stablemate and MotoGP™ rookie Pedro Acosta (GasGas) initially showing podium pace before eventually finishing ninth, and with Miller out of contract at the factory KTM squad at the end of the year, it was the worst possible start to Miller’s 10th premier-class campaign.

The Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2024 returns to Phillip Island on October 18-20, 2024. Register your interest for all the latest ticket information.

“Not the way I wanted to start, but it is what it is … it can only improve from there,” Miller said.

“I got away to a good start again and then got stuffed in the second-last corner by ‘Diggia’ (Di Giannantonio). Those boys were running a little deep into Turn 1 and I tried to hold a tighter line, and the front went away.

“Afterwards I picked the bike up and the bike was straight and I was pushing, but honestly was just missing something today. I tried to push my maximum every lap until the end, but I was far too slow. Any time I was trying to push, I’d lose the front … any time I tried to push on the exit I was losing the rear, and wasn’t able to keep grip.”

Miller said the pace of KTM teammate Brad Binder, who finished second in both the Sprint and the Grand Prix to be the only non-Ducati in the mix at the front of the field, made Sunday’s mistake sting, but provided him with optimism for the next round in Portugal in a fortnight’s time.

“For sure, it’s frustrating,” he said.

“Brad’s riding really well and we know the bike is capable of that, and Brad is showing that. A little bit of a head-scratcher, we’ll try to understand what went wrong and try to improve it for Portimao.”

Elsewhere, Joel Kelso and Jacob Roulstone got their Moto3™ campaigns off to solid starts in Qatar, with Kelso finishing eighth and Roulstone 10th over 16 laps on Sunday.

Kelso, in his first race for new team BOE Motorsports on a KTM to kick off his third full-time season, finished 9.465secs adrift of race-winner David Alonso (CFMOTO), the Colombian edging Spaniard and long-time race leader Dani Holgado (GasGas) by 0.041secs at the chequered flag.

From sixth on the grid, Kelso ran as high as fourth on lap three but lost touch with the front group the longer the race went, the 20-year-old left to rue a tyre choice gamble that didn’t pay dividends.

"We tried with the soft tyre today and it didn't work out, but we needed to try," Kelso said.

"On lap three when I was in the podium positions I already knew the pace wasn't fast enough to break away, so I just tried to save the tyre, But on lap eight or nine, there was a massive, massive drop. I was the only one out there with the soft and I gave it a crack, but it is what it is. If it paid off, I could have been on the podium ... there was no downside to it."

Roulstone, meanwhile, had an assured debut in the category for the GasGas Tech3 team after graduating from the Red Bull Rookies Cup last year.

The 19-year-old qualified 17th and gained five places in the first three laps to vault into the points, and passed Spaniard Joel Esteban (CFMOTO) on the final lap to grab six points, finishing 1.2secs behind compatriot Kelso.

"We struggled a bit in the first laps, but as the race went by we managed to get closer to the second group,” Roulstone said.

“When there were a few laps to go I relaxed, breathed a bit more, and we were able to make our way towards the front and score points for our first race.”

The other Australian in action in Qatar, Senna Agius in Moto2™, qualified 21st and finished 17th for the Luqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP team, beating experienced teammate and former MotoGP™ rider Darryn Binder by 1.5secs over 18 laps as he finished four seconds outside of the points.

“I had to use the tyres a lot to catch up anyone … when half the race distance came, I had nothing left,” Agius said.

“The positive thing is that I managed to ride the bike in such a way that I was able to make up so much ground towards the end when everyone else was struggling.”