For Australian MotoGP rider, Jack Miller with the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS team, he will probably remember the fifth round of the 2017 season at the HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France as “that weekend”.
What a weekend for Miller!
It was that weekend, where he returned to the top of the timesheets; as he proved his skill again in mixed conditions. That weekend where he was clearly having a ball as he pulled a wheelie to celebrate his fast lap during Free Practice 1. That weekend where he had that incredibly awkward moment with the cameraman in his pits as he must have wondered, “Why the hell is this dude still pointing that thing at me?”
It was that weekend where the Australian slid out of Free Practice 3, refusing to let go of the bike as they slid. More importantly, and most memorably, it was that weekend that he somehow miraculously walked away from a massive crash that to no surprise left him stunned in the gravel.
Then it was that weekend where when he was set to improve in Qualifying, he had another crash that ended his day earlier than expected. But then, it was also that weekend that saw the Australian return to the top 10, finishing eighth in Le Mans and collecting eight points for the championship.
Miller walked away from his crash
Fortunately, Miller was not too seriously hurt, although he did end up battered and bruised understandably, after what ended up being incredibly tough weekend in France; and we remain thankful that he did indeed walk (well limp) away from that crash even though we will be left wondering how.
As a result of the crash in FP4, Miller was left struggling with a sore right hand, and a swollen right knee which hindered him throughout the race making him weak. To see Miller out during the final Free Practice session was a relief and heroic. He then continued on through to Qualifying 2; fortunately he had done enough in the earlier practice sessions to get an extra 15 minute break.
Top 10 finish after his extraordinary efforts in Le Mans
During the race, after starting from 11th on the grid, he progressed up to eighth, slipped down to 10th, but then recovered again to finish eighth. That lad deserved much more, even more than a win, even more than the gold clock my Dad says they should get every round. Those riders are not invincible as we sadly hear all the time, but the fact that they, especially Miller, get up and carry on is nothing but inspirational and absolutely epic.
Miller left feeling lucky in Le Mans
After his extraordinary crash, Miller was “happy to get back on the bike for Qualifying” after what he described as “not feeling 100% after the crash in FP4”. He described the incident as a “nasty crash” and he himself knew he was “lucky to walk away with just some bruises”.
Describing the incident he said that he “had some locking on the front through turn one” which he said sent him “towards the wall”. When he saw that he “wasn’t going to stop in time” he decided to “let go” before he hit the wall.
Then, he spoke of how in Qualifying 2 he “went quicker” on his first run, but then his “hand was not perfect after the crash” which meant he “struggled to stop the bike on the brakes in the final corner and touched the kerb”. He felt it was “a shame” but he was determined to be “ready for the race” after he planned to “get some ice” on his hand and knee to “get the swelling down”.
Top 10 finish for Miller
Miller ended the weekend feeling “a little fortunate” on race day when identifying that other riders had problems but then he said, “In racing you have to be in it at the finish to get the best result”, which is what they felt they did.
He felt that “considering [his] physical condition”, that he “rode a good race despite struggling to pick the bike up on corner exit”. The Australian was “happy to be back in the top 10 both in the race and the points” however he remained humble highlighting that it’s “only early in the season” and he feels “there’s still a lot of work to do”.
He felt that he “had a good weekend going” until his crash in FP4, and so now he planned to “go home and rest” his body and “get ready to come back stronger in Mugello”.