Miller Wins Nail-biter Finish in Le Mans Moto3, Extends Championship Lead
Red Bull KTM Ajo factor rider Jack Miller of Australia came out on top after the closest and most exciting of Moto3 races so far this season when he came from third and out-braked his opponents to steal the victory and move 30-points in front in the points.
Miller’s factory teammates in the Red Bull KTM Ajo garage broke into wild celebrations when he crossed the line nine hundredths of a second ahead of Alex Rins of Spain. KTM rider Isaac Vinales took the minor podium place. The race, round five of the 2014 Moto3 World Championship was certainly one of the most gripping and hard fought that this relatively new racing discipline has witnessed and also delivered KTM’s fifty-first GP victory.
Jack Miller: “It was a great fight and that’s why I’m extremely happy. The bike worked really well. I would say it was as if it was on rails, but actually it was moving about a lot. That was my fault as I was accelerating too early to compensate a little. It was a fun race and it’s always nice when you win a fight like this, so I’m very happy.”
The Australian was by no means sure of the victory until the closing seconds. Rins, Vinales and veteran Efren Vazquez were all right in mix going into the final corners. But Miller held his nerve in the hard-fought braking battle and the big loser was Vazquez who went wide and finished sixth after a desperate attempt to seal his first career GP win.
Miller started on the second place on the grid, his fifth consecutive front row start. He got away well but five laps into the 24-lap race, as the lead changed quickly back and forth, it was already clear that there would be at least five contenders for the podium places.
Tension mounted as the race progressed and it became impossible to call as the field of potential winners expanded to seven riders. But in the final stages it was Miller, Rins, Alex Marquez and Vazquez who emerged as the favorites. There was a lot at stake for the Australian who had a narrow five-point lead before the race and was being closely challenged on the points table by both KTM rider Romano Fenati of Italy, who has shared the GP wins with Miller, and Vazquez. Fenati started back at tenth, was in the mix right up to the seventeenth lap but then retired with a technical issue.
Miller’s Red Bull KTM Ajo factory teammate Karel Hanika crashed out in turn eight on the sweeping Le Man’s circuit in the early part of the race.
Miller leaves Le Mans with an impressive 30-point lead ahead of Fenati and with three GP wins from five rounds. He has also taken three pole positions and has only been off the podium once, after he finished fourth in Jerez, last weekend.
Round Six is on June 1, the GP of Italy at the Mugello Circuit
Moto GP of France – Le Mans Circuit – Round 5
1, Jack Miller, AUS, KTM, 41:30.582
2, Alex Rins, ESP, Honda, 41:30.677
3, Isaac Viñales, ESP, KTM, 41:30.812
4, Francesco Bagnaia, ITA, KTM, 41:31.069
5, Alex Marquez, ESP, Honda, 41:31.513
6, Efren Vazquez, ESP, Honda, 41:31.522
7, Enea Bastianini, ITA, KTM, 41:31.608
8, John McPhee, GBR, Honda, 41:31.803
9, Alexis Masbou, FRA, Honda, 41:32.157
10, Jakub Kornfeil, CZE, KTM, 41:32.755
16, Hafiq Azmi, MAL, KTM, 41:53.523
DNF, Romano Fenati, ITA, KTM, 33:24.698
DNF, Niccolo Antonelli, ITA, KTM, 10:31.520
DNF, Karel Hanika, CZE, KTM, 5:21.036
DNS, Eric Granado, BRA, KTM
Moto3 Standings after Round 5
1, Miller, 104
2, Fenati, 74
3, Vazquez, 72
4, Rins, 71
5, Marquez, 60
6, Viñales, 44
7, Kornfeil, 37
8, Bagnaia, 36
9, Masbou, 35
10, Kent, 26
11, Bastianini, 25
17, Hanika, 8
18, Antonelli, 7