“I think that the title will be decided in Valencia”23/07/2014
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider has stated case for Moto3 title with four wins and an additional podium, leading the way in the standings at the halfway point of the season.
“I have to take this opportunity,” this is one of the most repeated phrases from Jack Miller in the first half of the World Championship season. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider took just a single race to achieve his first podium, with victory at the Qatar Grand Prix. He has now established himself as a main title contender in 2014. In his third full season as a World Championship rider, the Australian currently has four wins and a third position to his name, creating a 19-point lead in the overall standings despite two DNFs.
On a scale of 1 to 10, what mark do you give yourself for the first half of the season?
“A five. Because even though we have four wins and are currently Moto3 World Championship leaders, there are some races where I have made big mistakes -which we cannot afford if we want to fight for the title.”
You came into this season with no podiums from your first two years in the World Championship. Did you expect to be in this position at this stage of the season?
“The truth is I did not expect it, but it was what I wanted. I was hoping to win a race or get on the podium, but winning the first race in Qatar was something really nice. My first podium and it was a win! To lead the World Championship after nine races is a great joy.”
What has been your best race so far?
“Although at the last race in Germany I enjoyed myself a lot and had a well-rounded weekend, I’ll take the win Le Mans over that, because it was different. It was a race in which there was continuous overtaking –no respite. When you cross the finish line in first position after a race like that, you feel even better than normal.”
As you mentioned, there are races like Assen and Mugello where things did not go as you had wanted. Which race do you consider to have been the worst so far?
“Without a doubt, Mugello. At Assen we were doing very well all weekend. Even in the race it was possible that we could have had one of our best Grands Prix, as we got pole position. In contrast, at Mugello we suffered a little in the race and ended up crashing.”
Is there a difference between the Jack Miller from last year and this year?
“I truly believe that I am the same rider. Yes, I’ve improved my technique, improved my riding and have found another way to work. The Red Bull KTM Ajo team are very professional and take care of the smallest detail. It’s a great opportunity to be here and I want to enjoy it and make the most of it.”
In these first nine races, braking has been the standout detail of your riding style. Is this your main strength?
“Possibly yes, but it is not for me to say. I also do very well when cornering. In these Moto3 battles to the limit, whoever brakes latest has a lot of the hard work done. I think it’s something I’ve learned over recent years in Moto3. Motocross and dirttrack have also helped me with this.”
In this new team, what role does Aki Ajo play?
“Aki is the Team Manager and is everywhere. He’s helping me a lot. Especially mentally, but it he is always ready to work on the development of the KTM. With Patrick [Unger], KTM engineers, mechanics and other technicians, we make an excellent team. Aki seems to have it all under control and this is a reassurance.”
There are still nine races remaining this season. What do you expect from this second half of the campaign?
“To repeat the good races we’ve had so far, as many times as possible. I should be going for the win at every race, because we have the potential, but we must be smart and think about the overall standings as well. We cannot make the same mistakes. I’m here to try to win the Moto3 World Championship.”
Is there a race that you want to win more than the rest?
“Possibly my home race at Phillip Island. I won’t travel to Australia until the Grand Prix comes around and I really want to win there. Anyway, I am not obsessing over it or thinking about it too much, because in the end -despite how much I look forward to it- for the World Championship it is just another race.”
Your celebrations after a win are starting to become famous in the World Championship; have you thought about any special celebration if you win there?
“I really haven’t. I don’t usually prepare my celebrations. It depends on the moment and how hyped up I am. I guess I’d go a little crazy, but that’s nothing out of the ordinary [laughs]”.
It is still very close in the overall standings. Which riders do you think will be there at the end in the fight for the title?
“I’m sure Fenati, Rins and Marquez will be there, and maybe some more riders too. Of course, I hope to be part of the fight as well.”
Do you think the World Championship will be decided on the flyways or at the last race?
“To be honest, I have no idea, really. It’s very hard to say, because I can’t predict the future and I’m not thinking about it, because I try to take things race by race. However, with the way the standings are now, I think that it will come down to Valencia again.”
What will you be doing this summer?
“The first week I spent a few days in Austria with Red Bull and KTM, with Karel [Hanika], Danny [Kent] and Arthur [Sissis], then went to England for a few days of motocross. This week I’ve been doing some stuff with KTM and now I’ll also travel with them to Singapore. I’ll rest up a bit in Tarragona -Spain- and then it’ll be time to head to Indianapolis. It won’t be a quiet summer break, but I like it like that.”
You seem happy with this first year living in Tarragona [near Barcelona]…
“Yes, because it’s how it should be. This is the best place to live if you want to be a World Championship rider. This is my dream job, because it’s what I like to do. I know that this is the best option, so I made the change of mentality and tried to adapt as best as possible. I have made friends in Spain, many of them riders, and we don’t stop training and preparing. It’s like a second home, a second life.”