While many of his MotoGP contemporaries put their feet up during the traditional MotoGP summer recess, Jack Miller used the time to head back to Townsville, gate crash his fiance’s wedding shower, turn on the charm during a MotoGP podcast, spruik some new ‘Home among the Gumtrees’ merchandise ahead of the Phillip Island MotoGP round, take his VIP place at World Ducati Week – and also go racing!
Yep, Miller packed his Ducati-stickered KTMs and swag and ventured to the ‘Battle in the Bush’ motocross event at the picturesque Conondale circuit in southern Queensland in early July, producing a stirring body of work that even a smattering of professional motocrossers would be proud of.
He was fast, fearless and tenacious – the heady mix he always brings to the MotoGP table. He even picked up a cool $300 prize money in Conondale for his efforts…
A hurly-burly five weeks for sure, but it’s back to business this weekend for Jack Miller and Co at the British Grand Prix on the calendar’s longest circuit – the 5.9km former airfield now more commonly known as Silverstone. And the fickle British weather will be turning it on: it won’t be raining cats and dogs or blowing a gale!
On paper, the expansive Silverstone layout should provide the phenomenally powerful Ducati V-four with all the motivation it requires to monster the opposition into submission, but in recent seasons that’s not the way it’s panned out.
Instead, while Ducati has been thereabouts the sweet-handling Suzukis and Yamahas have produced more positive engagement at Silverstone, and in 2021 current world champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) prevailed ahead of Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar).
Quartararo’s chances of two in a row at Silverstone will be dependent on the damage limitation from a long-lap penalty – a carry-over sanction from the last round at Assen when he crashed and punted Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) into the gravel.
With the World Champion facing a Long Lap Penalty, can the chasing pack take advantage? 😲
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) August 1, 2022
If Quartararo finishes on the podium, this year’s stats suggest he’ll be a 50 per cent chance of standing on the top step. In comparison, Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo) and Enea Bastianini (Gresini Ducati) are both 100 per centers in 2022: three podiums for three wins apiece.
But it’s the more consistent body of work from Quartararo which is why he has a handy 21pt leader over Espargaro with nine rounds remaining, then it’s a long way back to Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Ducati), Bagnaia, Bastianini, Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM), Miller, Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) and Rins.
In addition to Quartararo, Rins and Maverick Vinales (Aprilia Racing) are also MotoGP winners at Silverstone, but generally it’s been a punter’s nightmare in recent times: there have been seven different winners in as many years, with Jorge Lorenzo the last rider to go back-to-back in 2012-2013.
Rejuvenated after his trip back home and starting his final block as a Ducati factory rider – he’ll be joining his great mate Binder at Red Bull KTM in 2023 – Miller is fast around Silverstone and also holds the record for the highest top speed at the historic layout (339km/h).
The still-absent Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) is the lap record holder.
Like Miller, fellow Aussie Remy Gardner (Tech 3 KTM) has been enjoying the off-season, which has included car drifting in Andorra.
He’s quite handy behind the wheel, too, invoking memories of his famous old man who raced touring cars in Australia and sports sedans in Japan after he retired from motorcycle racing. Wayne also, perhaps unfairly, picked up the ‘Captain Chaos’ moniker in the tin tops…
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I digress. After a solid start to his MotoGP career, the second half of 2022 will be a chance for Remy to fast-track his transition to the big league and claim a slew of major scalps – in both qualifying and race day. The great thing is that he’s made the finish line in all but one round so far, which has been an invaluable learning tool for the rookie.
In 2022, 12 riders have been on the MotoGP podium, with five winners. What will Silverstone bring?
Sunday’s 20-lap, 118km MotoGP race will commence at 10:00pm AEST, on Foxtel and Kayo.
In Moto3, 19-year-old Aussie Joel Kelso (CIP Green Power KTM) won’t be on the grid at Silverstone as he continues to recover from right foot injuries sustained in the last round at Assen. He will be return in Austria on August 21.
2022 MotoGP standings (after 11 of 20 rounds):
1. Fabio Quartararo – Yamaha – 172pts
2. Aleix Espargaro – Aprilia – 151pts
3. Johann Zarco – Ducati – 114pts
4. Francesco Bagnaia – Ducati – 106pts
5. Enea Bastianini – Ducati – 105pts
6. Brad Binder – KTM – 93pts
7. Jack Miller – Ducati – 91pts
8. Joan Mir – Suzuki – 77pts
9. Alex Rins – Suzuki – 75pts
10. Miguel Oliveira – KTM – 71pts
23. Remy Gardner – KTM – 9pts
Mark ‘Mav’ Fattore has been hanging around the motorcycle scene longer than he can remember, but still struggles to contain his two-wheel exuberance. He also eats like a bull-at-a-gate, which is why he once swallowed the prong off a plastic fork stuffing down Chinese takeaway during a frenetic magazine deadline. The digital space is a safer haven, and he’ll turn his writing hand to anything.