Tyre conservation, ‘domino effect’ caused early Miller lapse

Jorge Martin, Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller on the Valencia podium

Jack Miller has conceded he had to abandon his tyre conservation efforts to stay in touch with the lead pack at the Valencia Grand Prix.

The Ducati Lenovo Team rider briefly held the lead at the start of Lap 2 but found himself shuffled back to sixth position within minutes.

The Australian was overtaken by Jorge Martin and Joan Mir on Lap 2, Francesco Bagnaia and Alex Rins on Lap 3, and then Fabio Quartararo soon after following a back-and-forth exchange.

But when it looked like his chances of a trophy were shot, Miller kicked into gear.

After regaining position on Quartararo and benefitting from Rins’ fall, Miller found his way back into third courtesy of a Lap 19 pass on Mir through Turn 2.

In the end, 0.823s would separate race winner Bagnaia, Martin and Miller in what was the first Ducati MotoGP podium lockout in history.

Of his slow start, Miller explained that he’d been trying to look after his tyres in line with pre-race concerns.

“I was really trying to be gentle, especially through [Turn] 13 and even on the exit of [Turn] 1,” he said.

“It was leaving me a bit vulnerable and then the problem is here, one comes past and it sort of interrupts your rhythm and then it’s like a domino effect.

“So I fell back and then at one point there I said ‘hey, you won’t have to worry about your tyre here in a minute because you’re going to be that far back that it’s not going to matter’.

“So I was able to get into it, get going, and then just slowly work my way forwards. It was good towards the end there but it was just too little, too late.

“Honestly I looked with like 14 laps to go and then next I saw it was five and I was like ‘I need to go now’ but just ran out of time.

“But hey, what a day, three Ducatis on the podium, I’m pretty sure that would have done the teams’ championship for us, so it has been a good year and hopefully next year is even better.”

The factory Ducati outfit’s triumph in the teams’ championship followed the Bologna manufacturer sealing the constructors’ title seven days earlier in Portimao.

Miller finished the season fourth in the riders’ standings in a campaign headlined by two wins and a further three podiums.

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