In MotoGP we’re almost in double digits when we talk about the number of different winners during the season. Nine riders have shared the top step of the podium in 13 races and the tenth could arrive tomorrow. The two challengers are Jack Miller and Takaaki Nakagami, who will start on the front row alongside pole setter Franco Morbidelli tomorrow.
The Australian Ducati Pramac rider tasted that emotion back in 2016 when he celebrated his (so far only) success at the Assen GP. The Japanese Honda LCR man, on the other hand, is still waiting to find out what it feels like to climb those steps, although he was already close.
Both have nothing to lose in the overall standings and will be able to start the race with a clear head.
“The front row is always important, but even more so at Valencia – underlined Miller – It’s difficult to overtake on this track, I noticed that last Sunday.”
Jack gave it his all in qualifying…
“When I got out on the track I was amazed because the tarmac wasn’t as wet as I thought – he explained – I was able to push harder and improve a lot in the second exit. I now have clearer ideas about the tires for the race. Last weekend I went for the hard one to be on the safe side as I couldn’t ride in the dry, but now I’m leaning towards the medium one. “
The last race was also important for Nakagami to start this Grand Prix on the right foot and use what he has learned.
“I started with the bike I used on Sunday and then we improved it, we only talk about details, nothing special – he said – To be honest I didn’t expect to find such difficult conditions today. I was a bit nervous before qualifying, but in the end I managed a good lap and I’m happy.”
For Taka, the first opponent is the pressure, because in Aragon he started from pole but crashed everything after a few corners.
“This weekend I was very competitive, I was very excited and I couldn’t control myself – he admitted – I made a big mistake, but at the same time it was an important lesson for me. Now I feel calmer”.
Victory is no dream, but Nakagami wants to keep his feet firmly on the ground.
“Morbidelli and Miller are quick and the Ducati always overtakes me on the straights,” he explained. “Tomorrow the conditions will be different than last week but everyone will be more competitive I know I have a chance to get on the podium. Logically I would be happy to win, but above all I will try to use intelligence”.