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First-turn freefall extends Miller's muted run

Monday, 25 September 2023

Jack Miller was shuffled to the back early in Sunday's Indian Grand Prix, his impatience and a lack of grip seeing him recover only as far as the tail-end of the points.

Jack Miller was bitten by the first corner at the Buddh International Circuit twice in two laps in Sunday's inaugural Indian Grand Prix, the Australian falling to last place and only able to recover to 14th as his barren run extended for a fourth consecutive race weekend.

The KTM rider has scored just 19 points across the Sprints and Grands Prix in Austria, Catalunya, San Marino and India, and was left to rue a first lap run-off – and some subsequent impatience – in Sunday's 21-lap race.


Starting from 14th after Ducati pair Alex Marquez (ribs) and Luca Marini (collarbone) weren't able to take part due to injury, Miller found himself shuffled to the outside of the tightening right-hander at Turn 1, where Sunday's race-winner Marco Bezzecchi (Ducati) was taken out by Marini a day earlier in the Sprint.

After dropping to 19th, Miller admitted he tried too hard too soon to make up ground on the second lap, effectively wrecking his race.

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"I had a bit of contact and went out (of the track) at Turn 1 off the start which wasn't ideal, and I tried to make up too many positions in one go there on the second lap into Turn 1 and fired myself off the end of the track again," he said.

"It was an uphill battle from there. I got to work and was able to make up a few positions, but the pace wasn't anywhere near what we needed.

"It wasn't the day I wanted. I struggled with grip from the get-go, front and rear, and wasn't really able to carry a lot of corner speed at all. I was missing a big chunk of corner speed – without breaking the rear loose on the entry, I wasn't really able to get the thing to turn."

Rewind 24 hours, and Miller took profit from the first-lap drama caused by Marini in Saturday's 11-lap Sprint, expertly picking his way through the mess at the first corner that saw three riders eliminated on the spot to gain nine places from his starting position to finish seventh.

Sunday's costly first-lap miscue and scramble to recover to the points saw him finish 31.324secs behind runaway Grand Prix winner Bezzecchi, extending his run without a top-six Sunday finish to six straight events.

Miller doesn't have to wait long to make amends, with the Japanese Grand Prix coming up next Sunday. The Australian had the most dominant win of his career for Ducati in Japan 12 months ago, and hopes next week's return visit can help reinstall some confidence.

"I'm looking forward to heading back there, it's a track I like a lot," he said of Motegi.

"We have a good bike, so it's about trying to fine-tune it to get everything sorted the way we want it and the way we need it. What we tested in Misano can help us improve, but these other boys are all improving each weekend and we need to do the same. We'll try to be better next week."

Jack's Indian Grand Prix by the numbers

Qualified: 16th
Sprint (11 laps): 7th
Grand Prix (21 laps):
Fastest lap: 1min 46.318secs (18th), lap 16
Points this event: 5
Points this season: 109 (9th in world championship)