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Tumble from third stops Miller in his tracks in Texas

Monday, 17 April 2023

Jack Miller has seen a maiden MotoGP™ podium with KTM go begging in Texas, the Australian crashing out of a comfortable third place seven laps into the 20-lap Grand Prix of the Americas on Sunday.

From 10th on the grid and after finishing ninth in Saturday's 10-lap Sprint Race, Miller made quick progress as soon as the lights went out on Sunday, arrowing down the inside of COTA's signature steep Turn 1 to overtake six rivals in one fell swoop. The Australian quickly disposed of Ducati's Luca Marini at Turn 11 before scampering away to chase pole-sitter and Sprint Race victor Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati) and Honda's Alex Rins, who had been the class of the field all weekend.


Miller set his fastest lap of the race on lap 5 and was edging towards Rins when he suffered a low-side crash at Turn 7, his sixth spill of the weekend, and was left wondering what might have been at a track where KTM has never managed better than an eighth-place finish.

"I honestly felt the victory was on offer today because the way this thing (KTM) holds the rear tyre," Miller explained.

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"After five laps, I was starting to gain time back (on Bagnaia and Rins) and I felt that off the slow corners, I was managing the rear tyre a bit better. Rins was starting to spin a bit more than I was in acceleration, so I really felt we were a good shout today. It's an unfortunate one, as I felt really good from the get-go. To be there fighting with both Pecco and Alex for the first bit of the race was awesome."

The 20-lap race was punctuated by front-end crashes, riders abruptly losing grip as they dealt with a unique asphalt that presents its challenges for bikes, the circuit also used for Formula 1® and sports car racing. Bagnaia crashed out of the lead the lap after Miller's off, while just 13 of the 22 starters saw the chequered flag.

Miller felt the nature of the tarmac at COTA meant there's no coming back from moments that would be saveable at other circuits.

"It's been a tricky one this weekend because these crashes have been so strange, there's nothing I can do about it when it comes," he said.

"You try to stick your elbow in like you do with every other sort of track and you can kind of save it, but here … you can put your elbow in as much as you like, but you're not bringing it back. Once it went, it went.

"The tyre pressure was OK, the crash was more down to the track and my pushing at that point in time – as was Pecco's and a lot of the other crashes. It's a slippery and unforgiving track, and you had to ride with that little bit of margin because once you lose speed, there's no way of grabbing back the grip when you have a moment. It looked like Rins was able to do that throughout the weekend."

The costly crash saw Miller fall to 12th in the world championship standings with 26 points, but he was more buoyed by KTM's pace and determined to focus on the positives before MotoGP™ returns to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez (April 30), where Miller won for Ducati in 2021.

"I'm looking forward to Jerez – another new track for me with the KTM, but back to some semi-normal conditions," he said.

"I just can't wait to get back on this thing because I'm really enjoying riding it, and enjoying the group of guys and working with them to make things better."

Jack's Americas Grand Prix by the numbers

  • Qualified: 10th
  • Sprint (10 laps): 9th
  • Grand Prix (20 laps): DNF (crashed on lap 7)
  • Fastest lap: 2min 03.231secs (3rd), lap 5
  • Points this event: 1
  • Points this season: 26 (12th in world championship)