Pramac Racing Ducati’s Jack Miller was on cloud nine to secure a podium finish in Americas MotoGP race as he eyes the factory seat in 2020.
After the departure of Jorge Lorenzo to Honda, Danilo Petrucci got the nod ahead of Miller to ride alongside Andrea Dovizioso in factory Ducati from 2019 MotoGP season onward. It was a bitter pill for the Australian but he moved on as he leads Pramac’s charge.
Even though he rides for the satellite team, there is one consolation of getting to ride the Desmosedici GP19 – the one ridden by Dovizioso and Petrucci. It hasn’t been a smoothest journey but Americas MotoGP podium has certainly got him up and running.
“Assen [2016 Dutch GP was his last podium] was a long, long time ago and that champagne out there tasted really good,” he said. “It was a long time between drinks, both for myself and the Pramac team, so it’s really nice to get back on the podium for us.
“And especially break this drought I’ve had. Thank god the seat stayed on. It’s a shame Qatar ended like it did, it makes you think what could have been but you know, we’re happy to be back in the top six again.
“Now, going to Jerez and Le Mans, two of my other favourite tracks, so…the first half of the season I really really enjoy, it’s the last half where I normally struggle a little. So we’ve got to try and minimise the damage there or try and adapt to work for me like these have.”
The Australian had nightmares though when he saw Dovizioso approaching him towards the end of the grand prix at the Circuit of The Americas, as he saw that the Italian managed to get past Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Franco Morbidelli and started to close in on him.
However, he hung on in the end to secure his best result since the 2016 Dutch GP. With the sound result in, Miller’s main goal remains to actually fight alongside Dovizioso in 2020 as a factory Ducati rider. The seat remains open with Petrucci having a one-year contract.
“For sure, my main goal is to try and secure a factory seat,” he said. “I’d love it to be at Ducati, I feel we’re doing a good job this year so far. Our qualifying, I’ve out qualified him [Petrucci] so far and every race I’ve finished, I’ve finished in front of him.
“So, it’s been a good year so far but we’ll wait and see. As I said and looking at the last couple of years, I’ve always started the season strong and let’s say around Mugello the wheels have kind of fallen off the wagon.
“So this year we’ll hopefully try and keep them on to keep the ball rolling.” As things stands, Petrucci is fifth with 30 points with Miller in sixth with 29, but the Australian already has a podium to his name while the Italian has three consecutive sixth place finishes.
Andrea Dovizio nearly crashed at Turn 10 as he reveals
Valentino Rossi frustrated but credits Alex Rins
Honda investigating Jorge Lorenzo issue, shrugs off Marc Marquez crash