In-form Australian Ducati rider Jack Miller believes he can carry recent good results into his home MotoGP with victory possible at Phillip Island this weekend.
Miller said his past two results had him well-placed to not only win at the island after a three-year absence but also an outside shot at the championship.
“That’s the expectation (to win) going in,” Miller said.
“I feel good. I felt really good last weekend in the wet and in the dry.
“We were close coming off the winner in Japan and then the second last week out in Thailand.
“We can fairly say that we’re coming in here with higher expectations.’’
Miller is in fifth place in the championship, 40 points off leader Fabio Quartararo. But Miller’s Ducati teammate Pecco Bagnaia is just two points behind the Frenchman with three races to go.
But the Queenslander could still spring a surprise, and is favoured by a home race, followed by a potentially wet track in Malaysia before the final round in Valencia, where he has been on the podium for the past three years.
“I was never out of it,’’ Miller said. “For sure, (it was) more difficult than others but we’ve been consistently plugging away.
“Even in the lead-up to the last couple of Grand Prix, I was still mathematically in with a shout into the shadows and people are just starting to realise now.
“But we won’t look at that too much. I don’t want to even focus on that. My goal is to do the best I can in these last three races for Ducati.’’
Miller will leave the Ducati camp after the final round, ending a five-year partnership and will join the factory KTM team next year.
Miller brushed off concerns about the variable weather at the coast-side track which often bears the brunt of winds off the Southern Ocean.
“It is what is, that’s all part of Phillip Island and that’s what makes it the place it is, it’s all the elements getting involved,’’ he said.
Five-time 500cc world champion Mick Doohan said the island circuit could be the place for defending champion Quartararo to get his season back on track and see off the Ducati challenge.
“Quartararo’s been strong and he’s been strong on an underperforming bike. It certainly handles well but doesn’t seem to have the power of the Ducatis,’’ Doohan told the In The Fast Lane podcast.
“That said, there’s still a few races to go so I wouldn’t give up on Quartararo.’’
KTM Tech 3 team rider Remy Gardner will join Miller in the race. It will be the first time two Aussies have been on the grid since 2007, when Casey Stoner and Chris Vermuelen were vying for honours.
Gardner has been dropped by KTM and will join the World Superbike series next year, riding for Yamaha. The 24-year-old is still hoping to feature in his home race, even on a bike that has struggled to be competitive all year.
“The top 15, in the points, would be good,” he said. “We’re keeping expectations realistic but hopefully (we can have) a good scrap in the race and put on a good show.’’
TOP 5 – MOTOGP CHAMPIONSHIP
1. Fabio Quartararo (FRA) Yamaha 219
2. Pecco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati 217
3. Aleix Espargaró (ESP) Aprilia 199
4. Enea Bastianini (ITA) Ducati 180
5. Jack Miller (AUS) Ducati 179
Originally published as Australian MotoGP 2022: Latest news for the big race at Phillip Island