Miller keeps title hopes alive
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Jack Miller delivered one of his most aggressive rides this season on Sunday on Malaysia’s Sepang circuit to finish second to Spain’s Efren Vazquez. With this result the Australian succeeds in taking the Moto3 title chase through to the final round in Valencia on November 9, 2014.
Alex Rins was third and Miller’s rival for the title, Alex Marquez of Spain finished fifth. While Marquez still leads the championship points by a margin of 11, Miller said he fought to keep his chances alive in Rd. 18.
“I definitely did what I had to do to survive and to take the championship to Valencia,” Miller, a Red Bull athlete said immediately after the race.
Miller, who secured his eighth pole position on Saturday, delivered a determined race on the sweeping Sepang circuit right from the start. Deploying his now characteristic hard braking and fighting spirit he was the major player in the first half of the 18-lap race, occasionally conceding the lead to Vazquez but with Rins and Marquez always close by and threatening.
As the race progressed so did the level of challenges between Miller and Marquez. The riders exchanged paintwork no less than four times in the second half.
With two laps to go it had gone down to a battle between Miller, Rins and Vazquez while Marquez was stranded back at fifth behind Danny Kent of Britain. And while the race went to Vazquez, the most experienced rider in Moto3, Miller hung on to take a close second ensuring he is still in with an outside chance in the final round. The leading group of five riders all finished within a second of each other.
Jack Miller: “We are very pleased with the result we achieved today. It almost felt like we had won the race. We recovered a few points that we had dropped over the course of a couple of races and now we have only one chance. We have one race remaining in Valencia, for which we will have to work hard and try to do our best.”
It was also a very good day out for Miller’s teammate Karel Hanika of the Czech Republic who performed well to finish ninth. Both Miller and Hanika ride the KTM RC250 GP machine
Moto3 Rd. 17 Malaysia at Sepang
1, Efren Vazquez, ESP, Honda, 40:41.002
1, Jack Miller, AUS, KTM, 40:41.215
3, Alex Rins, ESP, Honda, 40:41.387
4, Danny Kent, GBR, Husqvarna, 40:41.805
5, Alex Marquez, ESP, Honda, 40:41.833
6, Alexis Masbou FRA, Honda, 40:42.075
7, Niccolo Antonelli, ITA, KTM 40:42.918
8, Jakub Kornfeil, CZE, KTM 40:43.091
9, Karel Hanika, CZE, KTM, 40:48.338
10, Enea Bastianini, ITA, KTM 40:50.522
13, Hafiq Azmi, MAL, KTM, 41:10.594
15, Remy Gardner, AUS, KTM, 41:10.747
20, Hafiza Rofa, MAL, KTM 42:17.172
Francesco Bagnaia, ITA, KTM
Isaac Vinales, ESP, KTM
Romano Fenati, ITA, KTM
Ramdan Rosi, MAL, KTM 2:15.455
Championship Standings after Rd. 17
1, Marquez, 262
2, Miller 251
3, Rins 226
4, Vazquez, 212
5, Fenati, 174
6, Masbou 160
7, Bastianini, 122
8, Vinales, 121
9, Kent 116
10, Brad Binder, RSA, Mahindra 102
12, Kornfeil, 93
16, Bagnaia, 50
18, Hanika, 38
28, Azmi, 3
31, Eric Granado, BRA, 2
32, Gardner, 1
Manufacturer’s Championship Points
1, Honda 368
2, KTM 359
3, Mahindra 160
Final Round at Valencia, Spain on Nov. 9, 2014