Third for Brad Binder and DNF for Jack Miller at the season-closing #ValenciaGP
Valencia was packed on a sunny Saturday for the last MotoGP Sprint of the season and the finale to an intense period of races that has seen the championship visit Indonesia, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia and Qatar in the last six weeks. The crowds returned in force and packed the speedway setting of the Circuito Ricardo Tormo for Sunday’s Grand Prix races and the last flurry of 27 laps of the campaign.
Jack Miller and Brad Binder both started from the first and second rows of the grid and enthused by their speed through qualification as well as the South African’s competitiveness in the Sprint, which saw #33 cross the line just 0.190 of a second from the win. On Sunday both sliced to the front and were running 1-2 for an early phase. Brad then ran wide into Turn 11 and then had to make some forceful moves to recover ground to 4th; just 2.3 seconds from the winner by the end and was awarded 3rd spot due to a tire pressure infringement by another rider. Jack had taken over control of the race with his teammate’s error but then made his own misjudgment several laps later into the same section of the layout and crashed.
Binder has excelled in Sprints in Argentina, Spain, Austria and Thailand while spraying podium Prosecco in Spain, Austria, Britain and Thailand. Miller also made the Grand Prix rostrum in Spain (Jerez for round four). Work and thoughts will already switch to 2024 with the one-day official test taking place from 10.00 until 17.00 CET on Tuesday.
“A 3rd place is a 3rd place, even if we didn’t actually go to the podium! I gave away a couple of podiums this year, so I know it’s not fun. Anyway, quite cool to finish in 3rd after coming close. I took an un-needed Long Lap but did well to save the crash because the front tire had been cooling down. A tricky day. I tried to fight my way back through but had no rear tire left at the end. We won two Sprints this year but it would have been good to sign off with a main victory. We just need a little bit more in this off-season to fight. Thanks to all my crew. We’ve made a big step this year and there’s more to come.”
“Not much to say. I didn’t do much different compared to the previous lap. I’d had a few moments with the front so decided to take it easy and not do anything too savage and, yeah, she just got away from me. It could have been an amazing result…but we’ll take stock and bounce back. It has been a year of firsts in many ways and a bittersweet way to end because it’s nice to know we have pace and we’re heading in the right direction. We have been working our butts off. The rider is just one small part because there is so much going on behind the scenes. It’s a battle to better a MotoGP during a season like this and with the small window. Everyone has worked tirelessly, so I thank them all for that.”