Jack Miller says “you wouldn’t believe” Ducati’s current MotoGP machine was from the “same family” as the older bikes he rode when he first joined the manufacturer in 2018.
Miller scored his third rostrum of the year in the Catalan Grand Prix after on-the-road third place finisher Fabio Quartararo was penalised for cutting Turn 1 earlier in the contest, this off the back of a recent double victory at the Spanish and French GP’s respectively.
The Aussie currently sits 28 points down on series leader Quartararo in the standings despite a tough opening three encounters, Miller reckoning this decent turnaround is in part to the versatility of the GP21 relative to the older GP17 he first rode when he joined the Pramac Ducati satellite outfit for the ’18 campaign.
The three-time premier class race winner described the difference between the Desmosedici he first raced compared to the modern day challenger is “night and day”, though he remained cautious about his chances at the upcoming Sachsenring and Assen venues-two circuits Ducati have historically to make an impact.
“The speed of the bike (at all circuits) just shows the great work done by the engineers have done over the years, the difference between the GP17 I first hopped on and today’s bike is night and day, you wouldn’t think it was from the same family but every year it just gets better and better,” said Miller.
“Michele (Pirro) has done a great job as well as Andrea (Dovizioso) and Danilo (Petrucci) before us, everyone is always pushing to make the bike work with different set-ups and at a variety of circuits.
“I’m really happy with how my season’s gone so far, to be third overall (in riders championship) is a good effort and hopefully we can keep working our way forwards but we have a couple tough tracks coming up next, I quite like Sachsenring but it’s another question on whether I can get the bike to turn there.
“Then there’s Assen which is a place I have struggled at in the past, I’ve had a victory there but I have had bad results too so hopefully we can finish the first half of the year strongly but I’m satisfied to take my first podium here in Barcelona.”
Miller continued to explain how he “expected” Quartararo to pick up a post-race infraction after the Yamaha racer rejoined the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya ahead of him having cut Turn 1 while battling Johann Zarco, a move he thought was “cheeky” though he found himself unable to attack due to struggling with the temperature of his front tyre.
“I expected it (Quartararo penalty) because I know the rule (if you run wide at Turn 1) and I was making sure that no matter how late I braked I was always making the second part of the chicane all weekend,” added Miller.
“If you just run through they make you drop over a second so I saw Fabio (Quartararo) go out wide and then come out back in front and I thought ‘that was cheeky.’
“I had a couple lunges afterwards but I was suffering from the third lap after I got behind Miguel (Oliveria), I missed a gear into Turn 5 and allowed them through.
“Once I got back behind them I got the front tyre temperature up too high, I was trying everything for the rest of the race (to cool tyre down) riding outside the slipstream, trying not to brake too late but I just wasn’t able to get it to recover.
“Every lap I was getting a front tyre temperature warning, so I was a bit concerned but it stayed pretty good until the end but then I started to push a little bit and it started locking quite a bit so I thought I’d just get as close as possible to Fabio and take whatever we could get.”