After his emotional podium at home, Jack heads to the heat of Sepang and the penultimate round of 2019 on a high.
Race: Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix
Round: 18 of 19
Date/time: Sunday November 3, 3pm local (6pm AEDT)
Circuit: Sepang International Circuit: 15 corners, clockwise
Distance/laps: 5.5km, 20 laps
2018 podium: Marquez-Rins-Zarco
Jack’s world championship results in Malaysia
2018 (MotoGP): qualified 5th, finished 8th
2017 (MotoGP): qualified 11th, finished 8th
2016 (MotoGP): qualified 14th, finished 8th
2015 (MotoGP): qualified 15th, finished 17th
2014 (Moto3): qualified 1st, finished 2nd
2013 (Moto3): qualified 7th, finished 6th
2012 (Moto3): qualified 19th, finished 13th
2011 (125cc): qualified 26th, finished 16th
Jack’s preview: In many ways, Malaysia is where Jack’s breakout 2019 season began, as the first pre-season steps for the calendar year on the Ducati GP19 took place in fearsome heat and humidity at Sepang in February. In the eight months since, Jack has exceeded 100 world championship points in a season for the first time, become entrenched inside the top 10 in the standings, and scored four podium finishes, none of them more emotional or dramatic than last Sunday’s third place at home at Phillip Island. There’s little chance to rest after some decent celebrating for Jack, as Sunday’s Malaysian GP wraps up a gruelling run through Asia and caps off four races in five weekends. Sepang has generally been one of Jack’s stronger tracks, as he’s finished on all four previous premier-class visits to the circuit, the past three years in eighth place. Last year was comfortably the more convincing display at a circuit where the field spread over 20 arduous laps can be significant, as he was 19.009secs off the race win after being more than half a minute down in 2016 and 2017. While the mantle of top independent team rider looks to be a bridge too far for Jack, who trails Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo by 22 points with two races remaining and a maximum of 50 points available, seventh place in the standings is up for grabs, with nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi 12 points ahead of Jack coming into the second-last round, and with only two podiums to his credit to Jack’s four this season.
Jack says: “It’s a quick turnaround back in Malaysia; I’m looking forward to hopefully a solid weekend. We had a good test here, but you can never really compare the test with the race weekend because you always get good conditions throughout the test, so I look forward to going back to our base settings and working through the practice as usual. Just try to make a good strategy throughout the practice, maximise the track time to get as comfortable as possible for the race in order to be as ready as we can for Sunday. I think the last three times we’ve been here, twice it’s been wet so we need to be ready for both conditions.”
Check back with jackmiller.com.au on Monday November 4 for a report of Jack’s race.
Photos courtesy of Pramac Racing