The Red Bull KTM team issued a press release containing an interview with Moto3 rider Jack Miller. In the interview, Miller looks back at preseason testing, talks about his hopes and expectations for 2014, and discusses how spending time on an uncompetitive bike has proven to be a strength. He also predicts when his first podium will come, and dicusses his teammate Karel Hanika. The press release appears below:
"I’ve trained hard for many years and I believe I am prepared"
Dominant in preseason testing, Jack Miller has proven to be one of the in-form Moto3 riders in the week before the start of the World Championship.
He debuted in the World Championship in 2011 and, after contesting the full 2012 and 2013 seasons, Jack Miller has signed with Red Bull KTM Ajo for 2014. The Australian has been quick to adapt to the Finnish team and has taken a big step forward ahead of the season –which starts in a week’s time in Qatar. He will be one of the focuses at Losail when the red lights go out.
How do you rate your preseason?
"It has been a very good preseason. I learnt a lot and the whole team have helped me. We’ve had some truly productive tests, so I think we're prepared."
How was your first experience of the Red Bull KTM Ajo team?
"I could do a little testing last year and this year it’s been fantastic. I’m sure we’ll have some little problems, like any team, but we always seem to find a solution fairly quickly."
What are Aki Ajo and Patrick Unger like as team manager and chief mechanic?
"Both Aki and Patrick are great professionals. Undoubtedly, Aki is the best team leader I have ever had. He’s nice and friendly and very calm, so it's very easy for me to work with such a person. Along with Patrick and the entire team, we are going in the right direction and if we continue in the same vein, we can have a great season."
What is your goal for 2014?
"Try to get the best results possible and –why not?– become World Champion."
How do you think you can do it, taking into account that last year the rider who won the most races did not win the World Championship?
"It's not about who wins more races. We must always try to score points, being consistent with that. It is clear that we must try to win races and that's my goal, but those days when you're not having your best weekend, you need to be able to take the maximum possible points. It’s easy to say now, but we are working hard and it will not be easy. I want to face that challenge."
Do you feel any pressure?
"No, not really too much. The only pressure I feel is personal. I want to do well for myself and I know I can do it. I've trained hard for many years and I think I'm ready. But I do not feel any external pressure or from the team."
Is this the most important step in your career?
"Yes, absolutely. It's a very important moment in my life."
Do you think your experience with other factories will help you this year?
“For sure. Riding bikes that are so difficult to manage has taught me about much more than just opening the power on the straights. I think it has helped me improve as a rider, but also as a person in general."
How do you dream your first podium in the World Championship will arrive?
"It will be in Qatar! And it will not be a podium –it will be a victory! [laughs]. It is clear that these are things you dream of but that you cannot plan, so we'll see what happens."
How do you see the new KTM? What are the most important points of the bike?
"We are getting close to what we want. Almost all the chatter has disappeared and that's the most important thing. We’ll continue to work on developing the chassis as much as we can. The engine is ok, so we can devote our time to other aspects of the bike."
For Qatar, what do you need to improve? Your riding, the bike, both?
"You can always improve, but right now it is not easy to say what will be needed in the first race. I would like a bit more rear grip, but I think in Qatar we will have different problems –especially with the front wheel grip. It’s hard to say until we get there."
How do you see the other riders in the Moto3 World Championship?
"I think Rins and Marquez will be strong opponents. I'm sure of that. Also Danny Kent, Karel Hanika, Antonelli, Fenati, Kornfeil, Isaac Viñales, Bagnaia,... They are all tough opponents to beat. In this class, you never know, so we'll have to wait for the first race and see who is strongest."
You talk about Hanika, a rookie who shares a garage with you. How have you seen his progression?
"He's a good rider and I think he is improving a lot as the season progresses. As the year goes on he will become a stronger opponent and I'm sure that next year he will be even more so."
Last year you were based in Germany. Where you will reside this year?
"Near Barcelona, mainly because the weather is better [laughs]. I lived in Catalonia in 2010 and it really is a place that I like and where I can train as much as I want."
You are the "Jackass" of the World Championship. Who called you that for the first time?
"My mother and my grandfather [laughs]. As a kid they always said 'Come here, Jackass' and it’s stuck."
Finally, Aki said he did not dare to compete with you on ice, so we will never know who is fastest. Do you know who was the fastest this winter?
"I was faster than Aki, for sure [laughs], but Niklas (Ajo) was a little quicker than me. I’d really like to go back and try it again, because I’m sure I can beat them."