Spanish Grand Prix victor Jack Miller says he is surprised Fabio Quartararo didn’t “bolt” away during the race after he looked the clear favourite heading into the Jerez contest.
Miller made a swift start from third to grab the lead heading into Turn 1 as Quartararo slipped to fourth, though the Yamaha man quickly made progress as he relieved the Aussie of the leadership at the final turn just four laps into the Spanish GP.
The Frenchman was quickly able to establish over a second’s lead at the head of the field, though Miller remained within range across the opening half of the race as the leading duo pulled well clear of the riders behind.
Quartararo’s race began to unravel though just past mid-distance as he ran into trouble, Miller wiping out his lead in just two laps before making light work of re-taking the lead, the Ducati man pulling away to take the chequered flag nearly two seconds clear of team-mate Francesco Bagnaia for his first win since ’16 as Quartararo fell down the field.
Miller said post race to BT Sport that he expected Quartararo to “bolt” away after catching him so quickly in the early stages, adding that he felt leading nearly half the race after passing the Yamaha would be a “tall order.”
“I felt strong all weekend with the pace I had, I don’t think I’ve ever ridden a race like that in my whole life, it just felt amazing to be out there managing the gap,” explained Miller.
“When Fabio (Quartararo) got past me I just thought he was gonna bolt, he got nearly a second gap but then he plateaued off and started coming back to me so I just had to knuckle down and get past him.
“He began to really drop off as soon as I passed him so I knew then I had to just make my break and getaway as quick as possible and try to manage my lead out front.
“It seemed like a tall order at the time as I still had like 12 or 13 laps to go and I was thinking ‘that’s a long time out front by myself’ but I was able to do it.”
Miller added that he believed “good things would happen” as he focussed on training following his tough start to life as a Ducati factory pilot this year, having only managed a pair of ninth places finishes across the Qatar double-header before crashing out early from the Portuguese GP two weeks ago.
He conceded that his first win since the ’16 Dutch TT-when he prevailed at a sodden Assen venue at the controls of a Marc VDS-run Honda- was not an “instant solution” to his early season woes, and that he will keep “plugging away” across the rest of the campaign to try mount a title challenge.
“I’ve been trying my hardest these last weeks really trying to do everything I can right, I feel like I’m in the best shape of my career but then got the arm pump and then this, that and the other it just seemed to be one thing after the next (going wrong,)” continued Miller.
“But no matter what I always went home on the Tuesday and started working with my trainer and keep working for the next race, and I just knew if we kept working like that good things would happen, but I didn’t expect a win this quickly.
“A win helps everything, but it’s not like an instant solution (to tough 2021 start), we need to keep working.
“My main goal has always been to fight for this championship and we’ve had a pretty rocky start but we’ve managed to put good points on the board today and we’ll keep plugging away for the rest of the year.”