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Miller 'trying to survive' in freefall to 15th

Monday, 21 August 2023

A lack of rear drive grip on his KTM saw Jack Miller sink from third in the early exchanges to a solitary world championship point on a Red Bull Ring weekend that left him scratching his head.

Jack Miller has conceded it's time to "go back to the drawing board" after a bitterly disappointing 15th-place finish in Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix, the Australian spending the latter part of the race simply "trying to survive" after qualifying in fourth position.

The KTM rider finished 25.475secs behind race-winner and former Ducati teammate Pecco Bagnaia at the Red Bull Ring, the furthest from the winner he's been across 10 races in his first season with the Austrian manufacturer.


Miller leapt to third on lap one, but knew immediately that rear grip issues on the hottest day of the event – track and air temperatures were both well into the 30s on Sunday – was set to see him plummet through the pack.

"I struggled from the beginning with missing grip, and I started really suffering on the (corner) exits straight away … I don't know why or how yet," Miller said after the race.

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"We really started getting into trouble with guys passing me on the straight, my top speed was down simply because the exit was not there out of the corners. The braking felt good, the bike in the front-end was pretty stable and I was able to catch back up in the mid-section (of the lap), but on all the straights I was not able to accelerate.

"The last eight laps was really about trying to survive out there."

Miller finished in fifth place in Saturday's 14-lap Sprint, but sensed he'd need more for double that race distance in Sunday's Grand Prix proper, especially when the forecast hotter conditions arrived for the 28-lap race. He relinquished third place to Ducati's Alex Marquez on lap four, and was then issued a track limits warning on lap 12 after being demoted to eighth by Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro.

Miller's lap times fell into the 1min 32secs bracket with four laps left – two seconds slower than his fastest race lap in the early stages – and he was passed by GasGas pair Pol Espargaro and Augusto Fernandez on the last lap to fall outside of the points, only being reinstated into 15th place when Espargaro was hit with a three-second time penalty after the chequered flag for repeated track limits infringements.

"We now go back to the drawing board," Miller admitted.

"We made some changes a few races ago and it doesn't seem like it's been working great, so now we try to maybe take a step back and evaluate the changes that we've made to attempt to go forward.

"I'm very disappointed for myself and the team, that was not the way I wanted to complete my first home Grand Prix (for KTM)."

Jack Miller at the Austrian Motorcycle Grand Prix

Jack's Austrian Grand Prix by the numbers

  • Qualified: 4th
  • Sprint (14 laps): 5th
  • Grand Prix (28 laps): 15th
  • Fastest lap: 1min 30.406secs (11th), lap 3
  • Points this event: 6
  • Points this season: 96 (8th in world championship)