Jack Miller finished sixth during Sunday’s German MotoGP after running as high as second once light rain fell.
It was by no means the type of rain on dry track conditions that he and race winner Marc Marquez have made their own in recent seasons, but it was still enough for Miller to lose 1.5 s in one lap due to being stuck behind a relatively slow Aleix Espargaro in second, as Marquez pushed on the pace.
While the Ducati rider ultimately didn’t have the pace of Marquez and Miguel Oliveira who pulled away, the initial pace of Miller that got him to second made the Ducati rider believe he could stay with Marquez had he been second when the drops fell: “I felt I had the speed to go with Marc [Marquez] at that point. When I passed Aleix I had a bit of a moment when it was raining. I caught a bit of rear brake with angle at turn one and I had a bit of a highside on max angle.”
Miller also spoke about Marquez who went on to claim his first win since the last race of 2019 – calling it ‘a fantastic job’.
Miller added: “We’ve been seeing him getting stronger each week. He did a fantastic job. He really managed the race well. I could see him at the front. I tried to get past Aleix when the rain was coming and he passed me back immediately at turn one.
“But then he went really slow through the whole lap and Marc was able to pull out a big gap. There’s really only one place you can pass here. I had to wait for the next lap to go.”
As the race went on Miller started to suffer and slid back through the front group as lateral slides became a big issue, even though tyre saving went well for the first quarter of the race.
“I was managing my tyre well at the beginning but a ¼ of the way into the race I was switching the maps. I went to map C on the engine braking just because I had a lot of lateral slides off gas,” said the 26 year-old.
“Something we didn’t have all weekend. It’s just with the race tyre. I was trying to manage it. To be honest at the end I had nothing left. I never really pushed incredibly hard in the race. I was just constantly trying to be gentle, smooth and I still didn’t have enough there at the end.”
With Honda taking victory, it means Ducati haven’t won any of the last three races as Yamaha and KTM are the other two manufacturers to do so.
Following the race, Miller was asked if he’s worried about KTM’s pace in particular as Oliveira and Brad Binder finished ahead of him.
As expected from Miller, ‘no’ was not an answer even considered, but he did acknowledge KTM’s ‘incredible grip’ levels, along with Honda bouncing back.
The Australian said: “I think everybody is focussed as much as them. Honda is a machine and pushing like hell. Ducati is a machine, pushing like hell. Everyone in the big league. Yeah, they’re (KTM) pushing like hell. And that bike has incredible grip.
“When Binder came past me today he was able to put the thing wherever he wanted, which was not even on line. He was still able to accelerate out. It seems like the bike is working well but, yeah, if you had said that at the beginning of the year I’m sure everyone would’ve laughed at you.
“It’s been the last couple of races they’ve been around. There are a lot of smart people there and they’re working hard, as they are in every manufacturer.
“It’s not like they can come in and just dominate. Many manufacturers have tried and not many have succeeded. It’s a very difficult world but they’re doing a fantastic job.”