For the second race in succession Franco Morbidelli and Jack Miller found themselves locked in race-long combat for a podium in the Portuguese MotoGP, but unlike last weekend in Valencia it was Miller coming out on top of a final lap scrap.
Perhaps the high point of a fairly uneventful inaugural race to be held at Portimao, Miller lined Morbidelli up on the final revolution, planting a pass at Turn 9 before holding his rival at bay to the chequered flag to claim another second place finish.
Coming after a race in which Miller trailed Morbidelli all race before launching a failed last lap attack for victory, Miller was delighted to get one over on the Italian to send him into the winter on a high.
“It felt like last weekend all over again, deja vu… I think I have followed him for 60 laps in a row! I have a clear visual of his back end, that’s for certain.
“Thinking of what could have been this season, I am seven points off third with four DNFs only one in which I crashed. So for sure, I am a little ticked off about that, as I think everyone is this year.
“Everyone has made mistakes but to be able to get the manufacturers’ title for Ducati is a massive honour and pleasure for me – I will take that, in a year like this. No victory just yet but we are getting there.”
His swansong race for Pramac Racing, with whom he achieved nine podiums over two seasons, he heads to the factory Ducati squad for 2020 to become the de facto team leader alongside Pecco Bagnaia. However, while Miller – who debuted in 2015 – is experienced to many, he laughs off the notion of being a leader.
“You know me, look at me… do I look ready to lead a group of people? Of course I do… [laughs]
“Nah, it will be good, I’m excited for the challenge. Not much to say really, I have Pecco next to me. You say I am the most experienced but I am the youngest up. You say I am the most experienced, but I’m the youngest. An old man in young man shoes.”