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Miller's Mugello 'bonus' after seventh place in Italy

Monday, 12 June 2023

At what is statistically his worst circuit on the calendar, Jack Miller was content to bank 13 world championship points at Mugello and move on to greener pastures.

Jack Miller has declared himself "somewhat satisfied" after finishing seventh in Sunday's Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, gaining a place in the world championship standings at a venue that has been a bogey circuit for his MotoGP™ career.

The Australian arrived at Mugello with just 12 points to show from seven previous starts at the picturesque high-speed venue, with four non-finishes making it the least successful track that has been on the calendar for his entire nine-year premier-class career.


While seventh place didn't top his sixth with Ducati in 2021, a haul of 13 points across the Saturday sprint and Sunday feature races enabled the KTM rider to climb one place in the riders' standings to seventh, and look forward to the next stops on MotoGP's triple-header in Germany and the Netherlands before the mid-season break.

"Decent points and 10 seconds back from the win … we can't be too disappointed because it's one of my best results in Mugello," Miller said.

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"I have to take that as a bonus and be happy to come out the other side. I'd say somewhat satisfied, but wanting more."

Miller qualified fifth at Mugello, and began the 23-lap Sunday race from fourth after Alex Marquez (Ducati) was penalised three grid places for a first-lap incident at the previous race in France. The KTM man began with a bang, too; Miller led the field into the first corner after a blistering start, but was quickly re-passed by race-winner Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati) and fell away from the reigning world champion and Ducati stablemate Jorge Martin, who overtook Miller on lap two.

Miller was fortunate to escape being taken out by Marquez on lap three after the Ducati rider misjudged his braking into the first corner, the pair making contact that led to an angry Miller arm gesture as he fell to fifth. From there, the race became one of damage limitation for Miller, who narrowly lost out in a late fight with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) in the final laps, the Spaniard winning a drag race to the line to deny Miller sixth place by 0.091secs.

"The bike was working fairly well all weekend and I had a decent result in the sprint, and I had a decent start in the Grand Prix race but I was just missing a bit of pace there in the beginning," Miller explained.

"The other boys seemed to be able to pull out two to three-tenths (of a second) each lap and I couldn't find that extra little bit of pace. After mid-race, the gap stabilised and I felt like I was getting more and more comfortable, but I just need to find a little more speed."

Form statistically his weakest circuit at Mugello, Miller heads to one of his stronger tracks next weekend at the Sachsenring in Germany (June 16-18), where he made his Grand Prix debut in the 125cc class 12 years ago.

He finished third at the Sachsenring last year for Ducati, and has three consecutive top-six results at the twisty circuit dominated by left-hand corners and punctuated by significant elevation changes.

Jack's Italian Grand Prix by the numbers

  • Qualified: 5th
  • Sprint (11 laps): 6th
  • Grand Prix (23 laps): 7th
  • Fastest lap: 1min 47.387secs (12th), lap 5
  • Points this event: 13
  • Points this season: 62 (7th in world championship)