Miller ‘had a little cry’ after win goes begging in Valencia
Monday, 27 November 2023
Jack Miller was part-devastated, part-pragmatic after crashing from the lead in Valencia on Sunday, aware he’d squandered a chance to become the first rider to win premier-class races with three different manufacturers.
Jack Miller admitted to tears immediately after he threw away his first chance of MotoGP™ victory for KTM at Valencia on Sunday, the Australian kicking himself after a golden opportunity went begging in a madcap season finale in Spain.
Miller inherited the lead after teammate Brad Binder ran wide on lap 14 of 27, the KTM duo running 1-2 from lap seven after Ducati’s Pecco Bagnaia saw title rival Jorge Martin crash out, handing the Italian the world championship.
With Binder back in sixth and Bagnaia no threat, Miller was seemingly cantering to victory before disaster struck at Turn 11 on lap 19, a sudden low-side seeing him skittle across the gravel with little warning.
“To be honest I didn’t really feel like I could do too much wrong,” he said afterwards.
“I started having some moments on the right-hand side of the tyre, but I had a good feeling in Turn 4. And then the change of direction with Turn 10-11, I didn’t even get to grab the brakes, she just disappeared underneath me and that was all she wrote.
“I had a little cry, it was one of those ones where it got away. I pushed so hard, we’ve been working our arses off, not only the last couple of weeks, all year … it could have been a really sweet way to end it.”
Miller felt the late-November date for the Valencia round – the latest finish to a season in MotoGP™ history – played a part, but wasn’t using it an excuse.
“It cooled down this afternoon, lap by lap you could feel it cooling down,” he said, Bagnaia later revealing that was “cold” on the bike as the laps ticked down.
“It’s 3 o’clock we started the race, it’s nearly f**king dark out there already. We’re racing the last weekend of November. But I’m not going to blame that, it was the same conditions for everybody. Pecco managed to stay on the bike and win the race and win the championship. He’s been able to do that the majority of the year.”
Miller paid tribute to former Ducati teammate Bagnaia, who was under siege from a faster but more mistake-prone Martin for much of the second half of the season.
“I’m happy for Pecco, there was never doubt coming to a clutch moment like that,” he said.
“He’s had his blunders and had his moments, but he showed why he’s a two-time world champion … now a three-time world champion. He’s clutch when he needs to be.”
Jack's Valencia Grand Prix by the numbers
- Qualified: 4th (started 3rd with Vinales/Aprilia penalty)
- Sprint (13 laps): 12th
- Grand Prix (27 laps): DNF (crash, lap 19)
- Fastest lap: 1min 30.390secs (5th), lap 9
- Points this event: 0
- Points this season: 163 (11th in world championship)