While Joan Mir and Jack Miller collide on the final lap in Austin, Enea Bastianini becomes the laughing third – the punishment for Mir is met with divided echoes
When two people quarrel, the third is happy. And that was rookie Enea Bastianini on MotoGP race Sunday in Austin. In eighth place, the Avintia Ducati driver had a box seat to watch the duel between Joan Mir (Suzuki) and Jack Miller (Ducati), which ultimately culminated in a collision.
“First of all, I would like to apologize, because I don’t like it when there is contact when overtaking,” said an apology to Miller after the incident, but he was behind his maneuver in turn 15 on the last lap.
“I had problems accelerating, I couldn’t overtake well, but he (Miller) was much slower than me. I had to wait until the last lap to prepare something. I managed a really good maneuver in the chicane of the first sector, but he just passed me back on the straight.”
Bastianini expected “something like this to happen”
“Then he closed the line and drove a bit weird, to be honest,” continues Mir. “In the left turn (15) I stabbed inside. It’s a good turn to overtake. But in the second part of the turn he drove a really tight line that I didn’t expect and we touched. Fortunately, we didn’t crash . ”
Because both went off the track, however, Bastianini slipped through. “Joan was very aggressive,” he says. “I waited for something like this to happen so I could catch the two of them. At Turn 19 Joan tried again to pass me, but at Turn 20 I braked later than him.”
While the rookie was able to look forward to sixth place, things got uncomfortable between Mir and Miller in the run-off lap. The latter took the world champion to his chest and made it unmistakably clear what he thought of the action.
I have no understanding of his punishment
The verbal tirade from Miller took me calmly: “I can understand that one is angry in such a situation. Jack is a good guy. If I were in his skin, I would be angry too. He yelled at me and said something like that like, ‘I’ll see you again.’ But I really can’t say anything bad about Jack.”
“He’s always very respectful in the race. He’s a worthy opponent and I’m sorry for the maneuver. What I don’t understand is the decision of the race management.” Because after the incident she grumbled to me a penalty for irresponsible driving. He was downgraded one position to 8th place.
“I don’t understand the penalty at all. If all the races are like this, you can’t overtake. Then you’d better not try and racing will lose its essence. Perhaps the stewards were not the same as at the race in Qatar. Perhaps there they were on vacation”, criticizes the world champion.
Miller: “It just happens again and again”
We remember: Even then, Mir and Miller clashed in the race. First, Mir touched the factory Ducati from Miller, who returned the favor on the straight with an elbow check. There was no punishment for either of them at the time.
According to Miller, Mir could have been punished more severely in Austin. “But I don’t make the rules,” says the Australian. “I was on my last lap and – like at Misano – was pushed off the track, whereupon two drivers passed me. The race management reacted and there is not much more to say.”
“It just happens over and over again,” criticized the Ducati rider, “but I couldn’t have done anything else. I had problems with my front tire and defended the line. There was actually no room on the inside to try anything. But it’s what it is. Other than that, it wasn’t a bad race.”
Why he ended up fighting with blunt weapons
In the first half of the race Miller was able to make up a few positions from tenth on the grid and moved up to fourth. “But towards the middle of the race I had problems with the right flank of the tire. That was a bit unfortunate,” explains the 26-year-old.
“Of course, I had to put a little more strain on the front tire at the beginning in order to start overtaking maneuvers. Starting from tenth place was not ideal. It was also difficult to keep the temperature under control in traffic.” He had also expected more from the hard rear tire, which he was the only one to choose for the race.
“I was surprised that the soft rear tire held up so well with the others. In the end I couldn’t really take advantage of the hard rear tire. But I think that was also because I was struggling with the front tire. I had to go in be really careful on the right turns,” explains Miller.
When asked about his dispute with Mir in the run-off lap, in which Miller briefly grabbed his helmet and reprimanded him, the Australian has to smile: “I think I was still quite well under control. I’m getting older and more mature, too.”