In what was a repeat of Qatar and Texas, Bastianini produced sensational race pace late on in order to claim his third MotoGP win of the season.
It came at a cost to Ducati though, as Bastianini’s unrelenting pace resulted in Bagnaia succumbing to the pressure as the Le Mans pole sitter crashed shortly after losing the lead (turn 13).
Miller was the first factory Ducati rider to be overtaken by Bastianini, which is not the first time the Australian has seen the second-year MotoGP man show more pace late on, which was also the case at COTA (Circuit of the Americas) when they finished 1st and third.
“This little bas***d has done it more than twice,” joked Miller. “He’s done it plenty of times. He’s always strong at the end of the race, he’s got a good drive, he’s good on the tires and he worked it well today.
“He made a perfect race I think. He started firing it in a little bit deep; I saw him towards the end of the race at turn eight getting quite close to the curb and you can see when he went a bit central I thought, ‘Alright he might be starting to struggle on the front’, meanwhile I’ve been struggling for 12 laps.”
Ducati 1-2-3 was possible, says Miller
“Pecco [Bagnaia]I mean, he was riding a good race and I thought he had the pace to go so I allowed him through,” continued Miller. “He sort of squared me up on the exit of seven and was trying to pass on the outside.
“Of course, I can always try to jam it up the inside because I had the inside line blocked, but I didn’t want to disturbe him and thought maybe we could pull away.
“He got in front and set about his pace, he had three laps that were decent but then I saw he started to struggle on the right side in turn eight, a little bit in the last corner and then when Enea came past and set about Pecco, I thought ‘here we go’.
“I saw him pass him [Bastianini] back at six, then there was a bit of a scuffle and then saw Pecco come back on the track with a big old black line, but obviously he was pushing a bit hard there and threw it away in the last sector. We could have had a Ducati 1-2-3, but it wasn’t to be.”
Does Bastianini’s Le Mans MotoGP win make him the favorite to join Bagnaia in the factory team?
While The French GP was Miller’s best performance of the season, Bastianini was again better than any other Ducati rider.
Ducati have confirmed that a decision on who will get the second factory seat for 2023 is likely to come in Mugello, which is why both riders were asked about it in the post-race press conference.
“I’m happy to stay in Ducati because I’m riding this bike very well and I think it’s the best option for me now,” said a tight-lipped Bastianini. “But I don’t know at the moment where my future is.
“I think we can understand this better in the next races, but I’m happy because Ducati have offered me a good package. Also we can win in the independent team.”
To no surprise, Miller was more outspoken despite giving a short answer: “I don’t know what you want me to say. I mean, put two and two together, he’s won three races this year and he’s doing a fantastic job, he’s Italian so it makes perfect sense.”