It was more like that, back on the podium here in Portimao and for me the first time up there in a while. It was time I got the most out of one of these good qualifying positions! It was a big old fight with (Alex) Marquez, but it feels so good to be back on the podium for the first time since Catalonia in June.
Even better, Ducati finished the Constructors’ Championship here today and that’s 21 podiums for us this year, that’s great. My teammate Pecco (Bagnaia) was in a class of his own all weekend, so it was good to be able to spray champagne with him up there this time.
Jack Miller laps the curb on his way to third place in Portugal.
© Ducati Lenovo team
I rode on the middle rear tire this week – there was no way me and Pecco were tough, after that we bit each other at Misano – and I tried to make it in the middle of the race and I had a moment at Turn 5 and ran a little deep. I had to stay calm, there were 14 laps left and I had to get the timing right to get back to third. I was back in Turn 5 ahead of Alex with six laps to go and felt that I had the last two laps under control, but then we got a red flag because of the crash with (Iker) Lecuona and Miguel (Oliveira). I’m happy to hear that these guys are fine. So we never saw if I had the tire for the last lap to stay in third place and it’s a bit weird to get on the podium with a red flag, but I will after the last one couple take races.
It definitely felt different when the championship was decided and the pressure really was gone.
We’ve been to Portimao three times in the last year and it’s a really fun track, on any bike really, but especially on a MotoGP bike it’s pretty amazing. The goal for this weekend was really to pull it off – as you’ve seen the past few weekends, we were strong until 2pm on Sunday afternoon and didn’t make the most of it. It was another solid Saturday for me, the fourth time in five races that I was second on the grid, but that wouldn’t have meant much if I hadn’t made it on Sunday. We’ve had such good pace over the past few weeks and just couldn’t convert it into points, so the bike has the potential, the rider has the potential … we just had to sort it on the right day this time. I finally did it.
The Ducati team celebrates in Portugal.
© Ducati Lenovo team
Another thing that was definitely fun was having Casey (Stoner) in the Ducati box this weekend, and me and Pecco both said it was helpful to have someone like him with us. I mean, I’ve worked with quite a few spotters on track in the past and nothing like that to help me drive, but Casey is hardly your average spotter, the guy is a legend and one of the best to ever make it .
Casey is good at being methodical and explaining exactly how he explains things. Just get things right that caught his eye, get right to the point. It would be nice to have him here all the time, of course, but if they don’t move all the races home for him (and me) … he has a young family and lives on the other side of the world and I know how far that is believe me. It might be too hard for something more permanent. But I’d be for it if it happened When I have him here, I realize that maybe something is missing from our program that someone like him could help with … and if it couldn’t be Casey, then maybe someone else is doing something similar.
It definitely felt different when the championship was decided and the pressure really was gone. It was a shame for my championship (Joan) I was ahead of me on Sunday so I can’t get third overall now, but fourth is still better than ever and that’s the goal for Valencia in a week, that and the team championship. Another podium would go well too …
Jack spoke to MotoGP writer Matthew Clayton.
This content originally appeared on jackmiller43.com.au and has been reproduced with permission.
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Restless, relentless, combative, courageous, quick; Everyone …