Miller Time: Happy but hungry in Austin

Aussie MotoGP rider Jack Miller admits he wanted more despite a third top-10 finish to start the 2017 season in America.

THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON REDBULL.COM

Hi everyone,

Us MotoGP riders are never satisfied, are we? I’m talking to you about an hour after the race finished in Austin on Sunday afternoon, and I’m happy to have finished 10th to keep my good start to the year rolling, but only happy to a point. This time last year? I didn’t even race in Austin after busting up my right foot in a practice crash, and after three races of the season, I’d scored exactly two points. This year? I’m 10th in the championship with 21 points. There’s a lot to be happy about. But still …

I guess it shows you how far things have come this year when I finish top 10 and I’m not 100 per cent happy. I wanted more from the race and felt like I could have got more too, but I got stuck behind Jorge (Lorenzo) for most of it, and that Ducati is just a rocket in a straight line. Every lap was the same thing, I’d catch him in the first part of the lap and sit right behind him, and then we’d get to the back straight and he’d just take off, that Ducati is in another league in a straight line – 345km/h in the race. I felt like I’d have been able to stretch away from him over the rest of the lap if I got by, but the longer the race went and the more we wore the tyres, it was just impossible.

There was nowhere I was going to be able to get past Jorge without taking a massive risk and potentially taking him (and probably me) out, so there was just no way. As the race went on, the front tyre started to wear pretty badly and I had a whole heap of graining and tearing on the right-hand side, so I had to concentrate more on what was behind me than in front of me. I lost a spot to (Andrea) Iannone, and then (Danilo) Petrucci got me with a couple of laps to go, and I couldn’t go with him. I had half a second on Jonas (Folger) at the end, so 10th was as good as it could have been. The rear tyre we used, the hard, was fine, but in hindsight the medium-option front wasn’t probably the right idea, but we hadn’t done much on the harder front and we didn’t want to take the gamble on that for the early laps while we waited for it to work properly.

To be heading back to Europe with three top-10s in a row, I can’t ask for a lot more than that. It was what I was after when we started out in Qatar what seems like months ago, but I felt Austin should have been better, which is why my first reaction when I got off the bike was more disappointment than anything. But saying that, I was only 18 seconds off the win, and felt that I could have been a second or so closer than that, so we’re making good progress.

I felt comfortable on the bike all weekend in Austin, and it’s a circuit that I really like and one that has been pretty good to me as well (other than last year when I hurt myself, but we’ll ignore that). There’s just something about it that works for me. It’s a seriously busy track, long two-minute laps, 20 corners, all sorts of corners, up and downhill – it doesn’t miss much. To do 45 minutes around there, fight with the others, deal with tyre degradation … it’s as solid of a workout as you’ll get, and I felt pretty decent after the race physically which was good.

This year seemed even more physical than the last time we were here because the bumps were so much worse in the braking zones. We’re used to the bumps to some degree at the tracks we race at where Formula One races too, but this year they were pretty bad. The F1 cars generate so much downforce that they put more pressure on the tarmac, so we get a bumpier ride. It’ll be interesting to see what we get next year when we come here and whether they re-surface it, because it wouldn’t be good if they were worse. It’s the same for everyone of course, but it did seem a lot more severe than last time we came here.

I stayed out in California between the Argentina and Austin races to do a heap of training, which was pretty useful considering how physical the weekend was. Seems like we’ve been away for ages though, so I’m quite looking forward to get back home on Monday, get back on Europe time, see my dog and get back into some training before Jerez and the start of the races in Europe where we’re all closer to home and things seem a bit more normal. We’ll keep pushing, and I’ll talk to you from Spain.

Cheers, Jack

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