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MotoGP French GP

Miller: 2023 MotoGP title fight “like last year on steroids”

KTM’s Jack Miller says the 2023 MotoGP championship battle is “like last year on steroids”, after a hectic start to the new campaign.

Jack Miller, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

With the addition of sprint races in 2023, after five rounds there have already been 10 races completed, with three different riders winning the sprints and the grands prix.

Heading into next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, Francesco Bagnaia’s points lead over Marco Bezzecchi stands at just one as the reigning champion has suffered three DNFs in the first five GPs.

To boot, Bagnaia is on the latest-spec Ducati, while Bezzecchi is on a VR46-run 2022-spec bike, while four of the top six riders in the standings are from satellite teams.

After a hectic French GP, Miller observed: “We’re five races through now, we’ve seen everything.

“I think this championship will continue like this for this year. This year is like last year on steroids again.

“There’s so many bikes [that are fast], everybody is so competitive, we see guys one week struggling and the next week they are riding away from everybody.

“So, it’s a tough one to gauge and it’s honestly hard to understand – obviously Pecco [is one] – your real contenders.”

Jack Miller, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Jack Miller, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: Marc Fleury

The chaotic start to the season has led to some criticism from riders over the aggression levels seen in the early parts of races in 2023.

This has been attributed to the difficulties riders have faced in overtaking on modern MotoGP bikes, while Miller concedes that “everybody has such high pressure” on them to perform given how close the field is now.

“It’s a knife’s edge, this championship,” he added.

“Everybody is so good, all the bikes are so competitive. If the rider is not feeling 98%, it’s a shit day, it really feels like that.

“I can’t explain it. The championship is in great form, there’s some great racing.

“Ok, there’s a lot more contact. But it’s all a part of it. Everybody has such high pressure, there’s so much to take and lose. It’s nice to be a part of it.”

These comments come after Bagnaia stated that he felt the only way for things to calm down in MotoGP would be for the gap, that used to exist between factory riders and satellite bikes, was widened.

These words, which were taken out of context and published on MotoGP’s official website along with an interview French media had done with Tech3 boss Herve Poncharal responding to Bagnaia’s “bullshit” claims, stoked a big backlash.

Bagnaia subsequently spoke to Motorsport.com exclusively to clarify his comments and address the controversy that he felt had been manufactured.

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