Australia’s Jack Miller has established himself as a genuine MotoGP™ title contender after securing successive podium finishes in Austria.
Miller, who finished third at the Austrian GP last week, backed up that performance with second place at the Styrian GP on Sunday.
Both races were held at the Red Bull Ring, with Miller showing blistering pace on his Pramac Ducati across the two weekends.
The Styrian GP result was even more notable for Miller given the 25-year-old Aussie raced despite a shoulder injury that sent him to the hospital a day prior.
Sunday’s race was effectively reduced to a 12-lap sprint after a Maverick Vinales crash resulted in a red flag.
Miller restarted from third on the grid and took the lead almost immediately before a frantic battle with KTM Factory Racing rider Pol Espargaro on the final lap opened the door for KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira to snatch the win on the last corner.
“He (Oliveira) caught me by surprise, that’s for certain,” Miller said.
“I thought the battle was between Pol and myself, so I fired one at him up the inside.
“I really want to see the timesheets, because I’ve been fast through Sector 1 all weekend, but it was the first time I got limiter in sixth gear up there.
“We come in there rather hot, and Pol went a little long and we come out together – and I thought it’s now or never, I have to try to get in front and block.
“I didn’t get the greatest run out of (turn) seven and Pol’s KTM seemed to be tracking really well out of seven into (turn) eight.
“I could hear him straight away – he was right next to me – I knew he was going for it, so I tried to brake as hard as I could and do the cut-back.
“I did the cut-back, and then we come down the hill, all I was thinking was ‘don’t go on the green, don’t go on the green’ – then all I heard was him (Olivera) going through!”
Miller said he sympathised with Joan Mir following the race, the Suzuki rider having built a commanding lead before the red-flag stoppage before eventually settling for fourth place.
With confirmation reigning champion Marc Marquez will not return to racing for ‘two to three months’, the 2020 MotoGP™ title race is wide open, with Miller up to third in the standings.
Miller returns to action at the San Marino GP – the first of two consecutive races at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli – on 11-13 September.
2020 FIM MotoGP™ World Championship Standings
- Fabio Quartararo - 70
- Andrea Dovizioso - 67
- Jack Miller - 56
- Brad Binder - 49
- Maverick Vinales - 48