Report: Ducati decides on Miller for factory team

Jack Miller pic: MotoGP.com

Ducati has decided to promote Jack Miller to its factory team although the arrangement may not yet be official, according to a report in Italian media.

The Australian is the first rider all but locked in at the Ducati Team for next year’s MotoGP season, claims GPOne.com.

Miller currently rides for Pramac Racing although both he and team-mate Francesco Bagnaia are directly contracted to the Bologna factory, as is new Reale Avintia rider Johann Zarco.

Factory Team Manager Davide Tardozzi had already told the same outlet earlier this month that he was “sure” his seats would go to “two riders who are currently under contract with Ducati”, meaning incumbents Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci are the other contenders.

All five are coming off-contract this year.

“As far as GPOne is aware, one (decision) has already been taken: Jack Miller will be the official Ducati rider for the 2021-22 period,” reads a report published late Tuesday afternoon, Italian time.

It does caution that “all that’s missing is a signature”.

Dovizioso has finished runner-up to Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez for the last three seasons, while Petrucci achieved a maiden MotoGP race win in his first season with the factory team last year at Mugello.

The latter’s slump thereafter led to rumours that Ducati would swap him and Miller in the 2019/20 off-season, although they were dismissed by Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti as “bullshit” and #9 remained on an all-red bike.

Miller’s manager, Aki Ajo, asserted recently that a promotion would be “the natural way” for his client.

Miller himself had already appeared to be agitating for such a move when he claimed that “other seats” would be available for him if he was passed up by Ducati in such a fashion again, having been considered for the ride which eventually went to Petrucci for this year.

Australians have strong history with Ducati, particularly Casey Stoner, the only rider to have won the MotoGP title with the manufacturer.

Compatriot Troy Bayliss was three times a Superbike world champion, each in red, and a race winner in the 2006 MotoGP finale at Valencia when he was entered as an injury replacement for factory Ducati rider Sete Gibernau.

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