Miller off the podium but maintains series lead04/05/2014
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider takes fourth place at Spanish Grand Prix, but continues to top the Moto3 standings. Karel Hanika gains ten places to finish nineteenth.
The first European Moto3 round of the year was held on Sunday morning at the Spanish circuit of Jerez. It was a hard race for Jack Miller, who with an eventual fourth place finish was just off the podium. The 13 points earnt today allow him to continue to lead the World Championship, with a 5-point advantage. Rookie Karel Hanika put a tough start to the Grand Prix weekend behind him to gain ten places before the chequered flag, finishing nineteenth.
Taking off from pole position once again, Miller made a good start which allowed him to pull away from the pack on the first sector. After leading in the early stages, the Australian dropped back amongst a large first group, keeping his chances of victory intact. With 4 laps remaining, Miller decided to attack for a place on the podium, but the continuous overtaking amongst riders around him denied him the opportunity and he took fourth.
Karel Hanika had a dificult task ahead of him, starting from the tenth row of the grid. The Czech rookie did not give up, and made a strong start that took him up ten places in the first third of the race. His progress came at a price, as the demands placed on his tyres meant that he could not gain further positions late on.
With two wins and an additional podium from the four races held thus far in 2014, Jack Miller leads the overall standings with 79 points. Karel Hanika lies seventeenth in the table, with 8 points. The next round of the Moto3 World Championship takes place at the French circuit of Le Mans, on May 18th.
Results – Race
1. Romano Fenati (KTM) 41:28.584
2. Efren Vazquez (Honda) +0.144
3. Alex Rins (Honda) +0.147
4. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +1.224
5. Isaac Viñales (KTM) +1.244
19. Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +23.741
Moto3 World Championship Standing 2014
1. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 79 points
2. Romano Fenati (KTM) 74 points
3. Efren Vazquez (Honda) 62 points
4. Alex Rins (Honda) 51 points
5. Alex Marquez (Honda) 49 points
17. Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 8 points
Jack Miller >> Audio (only for radio use)
“Today I tried to ride as clean a race as possible, but there are some riders who sometimes pull out some crazy overtaking moves. Every time they got in front of me we lost almost two seconds -and I was trying to conserve my tyres at the same time. I had to overtake them and push, and then they got back past before running wide. Then the same routine started all over again.
On the last lap I had a good pace, I had saved my tyres enough to fight and I felt confident that I could overtake the top three riders. However, Viñales got past me, went wide again and pushed me so far off-line that I couldn’t make up the ground. It’s as simple as that. I think I could have finished on the podium, because I had been very good at braking on the last corner and had great agility on the bike. I was also by far the fastest on most corners and was overtaking well -besides on the straight and the tricky Turn 11.”
Karel Hanika >> Audio (only for radio use)
“We did not start well this weekend, but we worked very hard when up against it to find a good setup for the race. The mechanics did a great job, because the bike was perfect for racing today. I made a good start, moving up a few positions, and in the first half of the race I was one of the fastest on track. I was even approaching the group in front of me. As the laps went by, my tyres became completely destroyed from pushing so hard in the first phase of the race. We were only able to fight to stay on track and finish the race. There has been good progress this weekend. We didn’t do badly, but things could have been better.”
Aki Ajo >> Audio (only for radio use)
“We have to be happy, because we have added 13 important points to our championship tally with Jack [Miller]. We are still leaders of the World Championship, although it is true that the gap is now very small. We have to concede that we are not entirely satisfied, because Jack had a great weekend of practices but was unlucky today with his setup. I know Jack gave his best, and nobody could do better today under the circumstances. We have to be happy, because we finished the race and are still leaders of the World Championship; we hope that in Le Mans we will be stronger. For Karel it was a difficult weekend. He had a few mechanical problems, but I’m glad that he remained calm during the weekend. It was difficult for him to do any better from the position in which he started, so he just has to keep on learning.”