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Aussie Watch: Miller’s ‘silly’ error, Agius raises the bar

Matt Clayton
Monday, 27 May 2024

Jack Miller crashed out for the third Grand Prix in a row, while Senna Agius was once again the pick of the trio of Aussies in the feeder classes in Barcelona on Sunday.

Jack Miller was in a disconsolate mood after a “silly mistake” ended his Catalan Grand Prix soon after it started on Sunday, the Australian crashing out of seventh place on just the third lap for his third DNF in succession.

The KTM rider, who finished seventh from ninth on the grid in Saturday’s Sprint, was one of just four riders who elected to use the soft rear tyre in scorching-hot conditions in Barcelona, with track temperatures hitting 48 degrees for the 2pm race start.


Miller made the most of his extra grip to vault to sixth after the opening lap, but was spat off into the gravel trap on the outside of Turn 10 two laps later to be the first retirement of the race.

“I’m extremely disappointed – I let the team down and I let myself down,” Miller said.

“We’re trying to be better and stop these silly mistakes, and today was just another silly mistake. I just trusted the front [tyre] a little bit too much too early, was lacking a little bit of speed in the last sector, in particular the last two corners.

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“I was just trying to compensate for it in Turn 10, braked pretty hard straight up and down and tried to carry the speed mid-corner as I had most of the weekend, but the track conditions this afternoon were different and without warning the front-end disappeared, and there wasn’t much I could do.”

The result means Miller has scored just 27 points in the opening six rounds – five points combined across the past three events – and sits 15th in the championship standings.

Miller’s compatriot Senna Agius took a career-best fifth place in Moto2™ in Barcelona, the 18-year-old coming from 12th on the grid and overcoming a long-lap penalty to score 11 points on the best Sunday of his fledgling world championship career.

Agius, riding for the Liqui Moly Husqvarna IntactGP team, moved up to a comfortable eighth place by lap four of the 21-lap race, and stormed to sixth by lap 13 before being hit with a long-lap penalty for multiple track limits breaches, which he served with seven laps remaining and fell to eighth place.

As a host of track limits penalties elsewhere and fading tyre grip scattered the field in the closing laps, Agius showed pace and maturity as he methodically picked off Alonso Lopez (Boscoscuro) and Albert Arenas (Kalex) to finish fifth, 12.593secs behind dominant race-winner, Japanese rider Ai Ogura (Boscoscuro).

“At the beginning I pushed enough to go with the front group, but I knew if I overdid it I’d suffer in the last 10 laps. I put myself perfectly in the group at the end,” Agius said, suggesting that the long-lap penalty cost him a chance at a podium result.

“But P5, we have to be happy. It was a good weekend for us, we kept our powder dry and did our work. I’ll try to put myself in this position more often and see what my next target will be.”

The result sees Agius vault three spots to 16th place in the championship standings with 16 points.

In Moto3™, Australia’s Jacob Roulstone equalled the best result of his rookie season with eighth place for the GasGas Tech3 team on Sunday, the 19-year-old coming through from 16th on the grid to match his showing from the Americas GP in round three.

Roulstone moved up to 12th by lap six of the 18-lap encounter, latching onto the front group. While he couldn’t run the pace of a five-rider breakaway as the laps ticked down, Roulstone muscled his way from 11th at the beginning of the final lap to eighth, finishing 7.248secs adrift of race-winner and championship leader, Colombia’s David Alonso (CFMOTO).

“Not perfect, but overall I’m very happy with our race and the way I rode,” Roulstone said after improving one place to 12th in the championship standings with 35 points.

“We knew that we needed to be more aggressive from the start. At some point I passed three riders in Turn 1 but lost it a bit, and then I knew that at that stage of the race it would be difficult to come back, so I focused on myself, trying to save the tyres. I did what I needed to do today."

It was a rough weekend for Roulstone’s category compatriot Joel Kelso, whose run of scoring points in 10 successive races dating back to last year came to an abrupt end with a crash on lap six.

Kelso, riding a KTM for BOE Motorsports, qualified a season-worst 14th in Catalunya and moved up to ninth on lap three, but fell at Turn 2 three laps later when he was in 11th place. It was a costly spill, the 20-year-old dropping two places in the standings to seventh overall with 42 points.

"There was a little gap and we caught the gap, I felt good and passed many people," Kelso said.

"We knew we had our work cut out from 14th, the hard work was catching the group. I just lost the front, but I gave my best – it was just the situation that happened."