Jack Miller produced another podium performance at Portimao but the red flag denied him the late race battle he was anticipating.
Joining Ducati Lenovo teammate Pecco Bagnaia on the podium as the Bologna factory claimed its second MotoGP Constructors Championship in succession, Miller was full of praise for both his employers and his Borgo Panigale colleagues. The Australian expecting even more from both next weekend’s finale and the 2022 season ahead.
“Pecco had an amazing pace, Miller praised after the shortened race. “From the get-go I got the start and he undercut me at turn one and I was like 'Okay, he clearly wants to push' and he pushed!
“I was doing consistent 39's, I think the best being a 39.6, and he was still like a hammer, just chipping away at us. Then I made a small mistake at turn five but Joan [Mir] and I were sort of doing that throughout the race, whereas he just stayed like a rock out the front. I tried to manage the tyre in the middle part of the race. I was hoping I might have a little bit more towards the end.
“When I did start pushing, I got past Alex [Marquez] and then had a massive moment off gas into turn seven, just losing the rear so I went to engine brake B. He was right on me, then again I got another lap in and got a bit of a gap and then got to turn five and it did the exact same.
“I was prepared for a fight towards the end but the red flag came out and it's kind of a weird feeling after that happens, because you're building yourself up for this 'all out war’ - especially between Alex and I, we got a bit of history and stuff like that, so it felt like 2014 all over again.
"I thought I was gonna get into a bit of a scrap there at the end but it wasn't to be. Nonetheless, we'll take it. Super happy for the team to win the constructors championship. Now we’ve got one more job, try and get the team championship done in Valencia. A place I love. A place I look forward to getting to and really excited to finish the season off strong.
“Already, we won the constructors last year and I think that showed [our strength],” the Australian continued, explaining the secrets behind Ducati’s dominance. “Not only by Dovi [Andrea Dovizioso] or Danilo [Petrucci] but it was all of us - myself, Pecco, Dovi, Danilo, Johann [Zarco] - we were all there pushing it.
“The best thing about the Ducati is we have a few of them on the grid and there's always somebody within that top four, top five, week-in, week-out. We've got a great package and you get to understand and collect data on how they're managing that sort of situation. So I think that's a fantastic thing that we've got going for us at Ducati and I think it helps us.
“Year by year it's been getting stronger and stronger and as you've seen, last year we won the constructors title, this year we've won it again and in a week's time we will wrap up the team's title, so we get two of the three and then 2022 we will wrap up the triple!
“I think we are really fortunate. Not only myself and Pecco, we have a great test rider with Michele, who has been there for a long time now, doing really a lot of amazing things behind the scenes. Because the stuff we get to test has already been through him and more or less been through a filter, let's say, and we have a great guy there.
“We have some amazing young talents like Jorge [Martin] and Enea [Bastianini] and even Luca [Marini]. I've been on the Ducati now since 2017, so to see the developments. The bike has changed, okay, I never rode the GP18/19? I missed one but the developments the bike's made over the last years to what I rode in Valencia way back when, to what I'm riding now is night and day and I think that shows the process that Ducati is putting into this project.
“We’re always the first - the first with the wings, the first with the ride height devices, the first with the launch devices. They are constantly, constantly pushing the limits and the others are following so it's fantastic to be a part of a manufacturer like that and it's fantastic to bring them another constructors championship. And like I said, next week bring them the team championship!”