Jack Miller explained post-race the “mega plan” he attempted to utilise to deny Franco Morbidelli a third career MotoGP victory in the closing stages of the Valencia Grand Prix.
The Pramac Ducati rider made a lightning start from second on the grid to lead the field down towards Turn 1 at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, though he would ultimately out-brake himself into the bend and drop to third behind Morbidelli and KTM’s Pol Espargaro.
He quickly dispatched Espargaro before the end of the opening tour, but then followed Morbidelli’s Yamaha for the rest of the encounter, never dropping much more than a second away from the Italian.
Having saved his tyres while stalking the Petronas SRT machine, Miller pounced on the final lap to wrestle the lead away from Morbidelli on the run to Turn 1-albeit briefly as he ran slightly wide and allowed Morbidelli to cut back to re-take the leadership.
The duo would swap places several more times across the first half of the last lap, though Morbidelli would eventually defeat Miller to win by just 0.093 due to a decisive final pass at Turn 5.
Miller explained after the race that he had hoped to “sail past” Morbidelli’s M1 on the pit straight using his Ducati’s superior power, though reckoned a strong tailwind scuppered his plan and caused him to run slightly wide at Turn 1, leading to the pair’s thrilling final lap tussle.
“I had this mega plan in my head that I was going to sail past him on the main straight with one (lap) to go, but that lasted until I tried to tip it into Turn 1 with the tailwind behind me and I just couldn’t get the thing to stop,” said Miller.
“I then went a little wide and were side by side into Turn 2 and it was a case who got there first, I was on the outside, then the nice little battle ensued and he got the better of me at Turn 5 and then I was searching (for a way to get back ahead).
“I ran over the kerb at Turn 7 trying to go up the inside there, then the next one but he blocked and had them all really covered, and then from 12 to 13 I had a really big shake but I just lost the rear and lost the drive up the hill so I wasn’t close enough under braking, so I ran wide and tried to square it up and see if the Ducati could power by.
“As soon as I cranked on the power it just drifted the whole way out so I just said ‘well that’s that then’.
“It was an awesome race and an awesome weekend, I enjoyed both weekends here, last week was a shame as I didn’t feel we could extract our full potential, this weekend we definitely made up for it.”
The one-time premier class victor continued to laud newly-crowned MotoGP world champion Joan Mir for his impressive sophomore campaign that saw him secure the title with a round to spare, describing the Spaniard as “cream of the crop” while applauding the “class” way he dealt with the extreme pressure put upon him all year.
“Mir’s been the cream of the crop all season, especially when the chips were down, he’s kept his head screwed on, done the business and it’s great to see,” added Miller.
“I love an underdog story, and that’s an underdog story if I’ve ever seen one so massive congratulations to him, he’s handled all the hype and shown how class he really is.”