It’s been a very special build-up to his home GP for the Australian, who remains in with a shout of title glory in 2022
It’s been a very special past few weeks for Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team). It started on Sunday at the Japanese Grand Prix where we witnessed the Australian produce the ride of his MotoGP™ career to claim a stunning debut win of the 2022 campaign.
A second place followed at the Thai Grand Prix seven days later, with that particular result – paired with the misfortunes of World Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) – seeing Miller close the gap on the Frenchman to 40 points with three races to go. “I’m still alive! I’m still alive! I’m still alive mathematically, I’m a dreamer,” said Miller to race winner Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and his title-chasing teammate Francesco Bagnaia. And he’s not wrong. Miller is alive and kicking in this fascinating MotoGP™ title battle.
And a trip to race in front of his adoring home fans at Phillip Island for the first time since 2019 is next on the billing. Something – like all of us – the number 43 rider is undoubtedly relishing. However, the best part of the last few weeks hasn’t been anything we’ve just mentioned. Because on October the 8th, in the week off between the Thai and Australian GPs, Miller and his now wife Ruby got married. Two podiums, clawing yourself back into the title race and marrying your best friend – it doesn’t get much better than that before heading to your home Grand Prix.
Phillip Island is an all-time classic that we’ve sorely missed for the past couple of campaigns. Miller certainly has. And the pressure is off in terms of the 27-year-old fighting for the title, all that will be placed on the shoulders of Quartararo, Bagnaia and to a degree, Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), as they’ve been the three riders who we’ve rightly pinned as the main contenders recently. 20 points split those three, two points separate Quartararo and Bagnaia.
With the victory, P2 and pre-wedding nerves now firmly in the past, Miller can simply go out and thoroughly enjoy himself on home turf, in the hope he can – at least – repeat his 2019 success of standing on the podium in Australia. And who knows, by the end of the weekend, the gap to the World Championship leader might be even less ahead of the Malaysian GP.
As Oliveira says: “A lot can happen with eight degrees and a cold win at Phillip Island.” In his own words, Miller is a dreamer, and along with Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), there’s an outside shot that it could be someone other than Quartararo, Bagnaia or Aleix Espargaro holding that illustrious MotoGP™ World Champion trophy at the end of the year in Valencia.
That first kiss as a married man will have felt like the greatest moment in Miller’s life. Kissing the trophy on the top step of the Phillip Island podium, followed by his famous shoey, would likely be a close second.