Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) crossed the line third at the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky to notch up his second podium of the 2019 MotoGP™ season.
Miller ended Friday Free Practice in P3 behind Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and eventual race winner Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and in a mixed condition qualifying, the likeable Australian was able to risk the slicks to start from P2. A decent enough start saw Miller slot into third behind Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) before Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) scythed his way through to third. The leading quartet was then line astern for the first half of the Czech GP, with Miller tucked in behind Rins until the latter stages, in which he was able to get the better of a struggling Spaniard to claim third.
“Pretty happy with how it all went. Like you say took the gamble on the hard front, hadn’t used it all weekend because of the conditions, basically Saturday was a write-off and Friday we were all just trying to get into Q2 because we knew Saturday was going to be a write-off,” began Miller.
“So I was able to make the hard front work, you probably saw on the warm up lap I pushed pretty hard to make sure it was going to work. I’m pretty happy, the team have done a great job and there’s no better way to kick off the second half of the season than being here on the podium and like you say, it was a real podium this time. Nobody crashed out around me, I had to work for it. I watched Rins as he came past me because I’d sort of settled in behind Dovi and Marc so I was like ‘ok, see what you got’ and I noticed he was giving the back tyre a fair bit of the hurry up and I thought nobody had done race distance on those tyres so we’ll see what’s going on and he started struggling big time.
“With five laps to go I saw him spinning up the hill, spinning up the front straight. And I knew, I could see it getting worse and worse and I was catching him up on the straights, so I just waited and bided my time. I tried to get past him at Turn 1 and typical Alex Rins, you know I raced with him a few times this year and I’ve raced with him for pretty much my whole Grand Prix career and I know he can always make it turn really good in those long corners like Turn 1. Even when I tried to make the move on him there I tried to brake early, hold that curb and just block him out but he found a way to come back under me and I had to stand her up, reset and find a different style of corner because I knew when I got passed him I’d be able to gap him.”
But it wasn’t exactly plain sailing for Miller either. The Ducati rider was managing his own issues as suffered several “moments” of his own – including a biggie at Turn 4: “I was having to manage my own issues, I’ve made it sound all rosy with that hard front but it wasn’t. I had many moments and I almost gave up the chase let’s say. With about eight or seven laps to go, at Turn 4 I changed directions and there’s like some chattery bumps there and as I hit them the front went ‘bounce rrrrrrrr’ and I thought ‘oh don’t you go on me’ and I managed to hold her up on my elbow and bring her home.
“And as I said that Suzuki turns really well but also he was having to work it a lot on the last corner and really stressing the rear tyre a lot so I knew what I had to do and manage it. I just can’t thank the team enough because the limited time this weekend they’ve made the bike work awesome.”
It’s exactly the start to the second half of the season Miller and Pramac would have been aiming for and now, the MotoGP™ paddock head to a Ducati happy hunting ground: the Red Bull Ring. It’s a circuit Miller has a best result of 10th at in 2016, so he’ll be hoping – and expecting – that to be vastly improved this time next week.
“Yeah I hope so,” said Miller, talking about getting a good result in Austria on a latest-spec Ducati. “It’s not a track I’ve normally gone well at – but neither is here. So we seem to be turning a lot of things around this year so hopefully we’ll be able to go there, normally the bike works pretty good. We’ll have the updated fairing for that race so I’m excited. New face lift on the bike to make her look nice and pretty and shiny.”
Before hopping across the border to Austria, Miller and his fellow premier class riders have another date with Brno to look forward to. The 11 teams will be testing in the Czech Republic on Monday 5th August for one day, keep up to date via Live Timing and watch videos and read a report at the end of the day right here on motogp.com.