Aussie MotoGP rider Jack Miller has said that his maiden victory in the highest category of motorcycle racing is a dream come true.
Miller won a chaotic Dutch TT race at Assen in the Netherlands on Sunday, taking victory in front of two-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez in wet conditions.
The win means the 21-year-old Queensland native joins an elite club of Australians who have won a race in the premier class of the sport, including champions Wayne Gardner, Mick Doohan and Casey Stoner.
“It’s a dream come true for me. I’m sort of coming to grips with it now, it’s pretty special,” Miller said on SEN Breakfast.
“It still hasn’t really sunk in yet. I’m super happy to be in that club, the Grand Prix winners’ club but also to do it in Assen, one of the oldest tracks, the 250th MotoGP race and the first time ever on a Sunday in Assen is pretty bloody special, that’s for sure.”
Miller described just how he managed to overcome a lowly 18th place on the grid at the start of the race to come out on top.
“We weren’t really happy with the qualifying position, we had been stronger than that all weekend. The first race started off pretty good but then the torrential rain came down which was ridiculous, you’re going along at 200 km/h and you’re not even using the gas because the bike is aquaplaning that much,” he said.
“They red flagged it and we were able to play around with the settings a little bit more, put on some fresh tyres and start from square one again. In the first race I made some positions forward so I started from ninth. It put us in a good position, I got a good start and the rest is history.”
The Aussie also explained his rise to MotoGP, including the difficult opening two seasons he has had since jumping from Moto3 at the start of 2015.
“I came straight from Moto3 to MotoGP so it was from the smallest category straight to the biggest one, the premier class. It came after a really strong season in Moto3, I lost the championship by two points but I won the most races and we were really strong there,” Miller said.
“We came across at a really difficult point at that time. First of all I came on a Honda that wasn’t on factory-spec or anything like that. It was like a customer bike almost. We beat (former MotoGP Champion) Nicky Hayden and everyone else on the same bike but we were fighting for positions like 15th onwards to top ten but that was the best we could do.”
Miller also says that his victory is popular among the MotoGP paddock, and that legendary MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi has been in contact with him since his win despite not finishing the Assen race himself, denting his title hopes.
“To be honest I feel really lucky because the podium was full of other riders and a lot of my friends from the paddock,” he said.
“I mean Vale had a terrible race for him in terms of his championship but to get a message from him not only yesterday but this morning, messaging me just to hear how it feels and whether it has sunk in yet.
“I think a lot of people are really happy to see me get my first win, it’s something special and it’s a very emotional thing.”