20 laps, 20 corners: Jack has clear visions of a strong weekend in Austin after his superb fourth in Argentina.
Race: Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas
Round: 3 of 19
Date/time: Sunday April 14, 2pm local (5am AEDT Monday April 15)
Circuit: Circuit of the Americas: 20 corners, anti-clockwise
Distance/laps: 5.5km, 20 laps
2018 podium: Marquez-Vinales-Iannone
Jack’s world championship results in Austin
2018 (MotoGP): qualified 18th, finished 9th
2017 (MotoGP): qualified 12th, finished 10th
2016 (MotoGP): did not start (foot injury)
2015 (MotoGP): qualified 19th, finished 14th
2014 (Moto3): qualified 1st, finished 1st
2013 (Moto3): qualified 4th, finished 6th
Jack’s preview: Jack’s MotoGP-best showing at the Circuit of the Americas last year was all the more meritorious given it came under duress. A heavy crash in final practice meant he had to use his second bike for qualifying, the spill coming after he’d injured his right shoulder in a mountain bike accident while training in California between the Argentina and Austin races, racing to ninth on Sunday with muscle damage, bruising and a small tear to his rotator cuff. Austin is a track that has bitten Jack hard in the past, too; he missed the 2016 race with a right foot injury after a crash in practice, but it’s a place with some fond memories, Jack’s second world championship win coming at COTA in 2014 from pole in the Moto3 class. COTA is the template for a mega modern motorsport facility; with space for 120,000 fans, the 20-turn track features corners inspired by those at tracks such as Hockenheim, Istanbul Park, Silverstone, Interlagos and the Osterreichring, while the 41-metre elevation into the first corner always produces one of the signature shots of the year, and offers a host of lines for the riders to attack one another soon after the lights go out. Jack comes to Austin after getting his 2019 points tally off the mark in a big way in Argentina last time out when he finished fourth, matching his best result of 2018, and he was just 1.6secs from the podium. The COTA weekend will see the number 69 of one of Jack’s heroes, the late 2006 world champion Nicky Hayden, officially retired from Grand Prix racing in a ceremony on Friday.
Jack says: “We’ve been going well all year so far, and that’s important with contracts and I’ll try and keep that going. But my main goal is to get on the podium, and I’d be happy with three Ducati’s on the podium if I was one of them. I’ll try and get there in Austin. We’ve shown in Qatar and Argentina we’ve got good pace. Austin’s normally a track I like. I struggled a little bit here last year, I had a small injury, so I’m looking forward to being 100% fit this year and see how many whoops are on the back straight.”
Check back with jackmiller.com.au on Monday April 15 for a report of Jack’s race.
Photos courtesy of Alma Pramac Racing