Miller extracting ‘small victories’ from Sepang MotoGP encounter
Medium-compound tyre strategy backfires for the Australian.
Pramac Racing’s Jack Miller charged to eighth position at the weekend’s penultimate round of the MotoGP World Championship, marking the third-consecutive time he’s achieved that result at the Malaysian grand prix in the premier class.
According to the likeable Australian, he’s extracting ‘small victories’ out of his performance, highlighting an improved gap behind the leaders as he crossed the line in the 20-lap affair.
“That’s now three years in a row that I’ve been eighth here, so you look for small victories,” said Miller in his Red Bull column. “In 2016 and ’17, I was more than half a minute behind the winner – this time, it was 19 seconds. So, progress to some extent, but it’s hard not to feel a bit flat after being less than seven seconds from the front at Phillip Island last weekend.”
Miller once again opted for an alternative tyre strategy that differed from the trend amongst the field, sporting a medium-compound at the rear, which unfortunately failed to deliver for the Queensland-native.
It’s the second round in a row that tyre strategy has backfired for the Ducati pilot, although Miller expressed the importance of going against the grain in order to make possible gains on the factory-prepared machines.
“We went for the medium-compound rear tyre, and I was the only one of us on the entire grid to race it, everyone else used the soft,” he continued. “We had a warm-up session on Sunday on a damp track still, so we didn’t do any laps on slicks on Sunday before the race. It was a bit of an educated guess for all of us with tyre choice, and mine didn’t work.
“When you’re racing the factory guys, doing the same as them with tyres means you’re going to probably finish behind them because of the equipment they have. It’d become a game of follow the leader where you know where you’ll finish, more or less. If the medium tyre had have paid off for me today, it would have looked like a masterstroke.
“You have to try to do something different to come up with a different outcome. I’m not under any pressure from behind in the championship, there’s nothing to lose, so I thought I’d give the medium a go.”
Miller sits 13th in the championship rankings with just one round to spare in the series, scheduled for 18 November at Valencia in Spain.