Jack converts a front-row start into his fifth podium of the year with a well-judged race to round out 2019.
Jack has signed off on a fantastic 2019 campaign in style, taking his fifth podium finish of the season with an assured third place in the final race of the year in Valencia on Sunday.
It’s the fifth time Jack has finished third this season, and his second podium visit in the final three races of the year after finishing third at his home race at Phillip Island three weeks ago.
Jack qualified a superb third on Saturday, his first front-row starting slot since the British Grand Prix in August, and his fourth top-three qualifying result of the year.
He made his customary brilliant getaway when the lights went out for the 27-lap race on Sunday, storming into the lead at the first corner before pole-sitter Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) muscled his way back into the lead at Turn 2.
Marc Marquez (Honda) then passed Jack at the final corner at the end of the opening lap as the race settled into a rhythm, unusually low track temperatures of just 16 degrees turning this race into one of tyre preservation, the top seven riders on the grid utilising the medium front/hard rear rubber combination.
Marquez took the lead from Quartararo on lap seven, and while the top three didn’t change after that point, the gap between first and third remained tight until lap 18, when the world champion extended his advantage to over a second for the first time. Jack was marginally faster than Quartararo and took time out of the Yamaha for five consecutive laps from laps 19-23, but the Frenchman’s pace proved too much as he secured second and, with it, the top independent team rider tag for 2019.
Marquez won his 12th race of the season by 1.026secs from Quartararo, with Jack a further 1.383secs in arrears, and 2.409secs behind Marquez at the flag.
“I think I made up for (the) last (race) in Malaysia, fading back,” Jack said of his tyre-preserving ride.
“Today I was consistent, staying there. I was chasing Fabio, I saw him make a few mistakes in the centre part of the race and I felt like I was coming back towards him, got a second wind. But an amazing race by those two, flawless – all of us were just hammering away. It was a long but fun race. They go quickly when you’re constantly chasing like today.”
Jack’s podium – added to third-place finishes in Austin, Brno, Aragon and of course Australia – saw him end the season with 165 world championship points and an eighth-place finish, just nine points behind nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha). Before 2019, Jack’s season-best haul came in 2018, when he scored 91 points, while 2019 is his first top-10 championship finish. Five of his six premier-class podiums have come this season, while no Pramac Ducati rider has ever achieved five podiums in a single season until Jack managed it this year.
Jack will next be back in action at Valencia on Tuesday, the first day of a two-day post-season test as preparations for 2020 get underway.