French Grand Prix victor Jack Miller says he was “trying to do maths” as he raced towards a second straight MotoGP win at Le Mans as the track dried out.
Miller overcame a trip to the gravel as well as a double long-lap penalty for speeding in the pit-lane during his bike swap in the early stages of the French encounter to win by just under four seconds ahead of Johann Zarco, though the Aussie admitted after the race he was tempeted to pit for slicks once again as the track dried in the closing laps.
In the end he elected to stay out after being concerned about the time loss caused the extremely long pit-lane at the Le Mans venue, describing his second successive premier class success as “awesome.”
“When I saw the double long-lap I didn’t want to believe it, I thought ‘that can’t be right what have I done!,” Miller explained to BT Sport following the race.
“I’m used to getting French speeding fines but normally they come in the mail, but to win like this is amazing.
“I didn’t expect to get back-to-back wins, I’ve managed to double my career total in two weeks so that’s pretty nice but it’s a great feeling to be here in a factory team and do this week in and week out, it’s awesome.
“I haven’t seen the championship standings yet but I know this would have helped so we’ll just keep trying to make our way forward.
“With about seven laps to go I was thinking it was probably about time to put the slicks in, but the problem is the pit-lane here is so long that the time it takes to go in and out you would have to push so hard (to make up the time.)
“I was trying to do maths in my head which was really difficult, I knew I could 1:37’s or 1:36’s with the slicks in but I was able to stay out and plug away at the front.”
Miller added that he was able to “save a card” for the final tours in the shape of his traction control setting, the Aussie revealing that he was playing it safe and waiting for the charging Zarco to get within a certain gap of him before turning down the setting.
This allowed him to use up more of the rear tyre and therefore decrease his lap time, the higher traction control setting he had used throughout the contest allowing him to save his soft rear compound tyre more effectively.
“I saw Zarco coming at the end so I let him get to within the five second bracket (behind) with about four laps to go and I changed to the lower traction control setting, as the track dried out you wind it down and let the rear tyre spin more so I saved that for the end,” continued Miller.
“He’d pushed really hard to close down the gap and I was able to save that card for the end so that I could pull the gap a little bit out at the end and just keep that five second gap until the end.”
Miller’s recent victory streak has allowed him to close to within just 16 points of series leader Fabio Quartararo ahead of the Italian GP at Mugello in two weeks time, the now three-time premier class winner having been 47 down on the Frenchman two races ago following a difficult start to 2021.