Miller: One-year contract ‘never my idea’
Thursday 3rd June, 2021 - 10:48am
Jack Miller admits he would have preferred a longer contract than the one-year deal which he has signed with Ducati for 2022.
The agreement will take the Queenslander to five years with Ducati, on a total of five contracts, after the Bologna manufacturer activated its one-year option on his services.
Before his promotion to the factory team this year, Miller had only one MotoGP race win to his name, that being the rainy Dutch TT of 2016.
However, he bounced back from three poor rounds at the start of the current campaign to win the Spanish and French Grands Prix, back-to-back.
It would appear that those performances convinced Ducati to renew ‘Jackass’, with sporting director Paolo Ciabatti hinting after the Jerez victory that it would happen, before rumours after the Le Mans triumph that the deal was at least a formality.
Nevertheless, Miller only had one more season added to his tenure.
“Was never my idea,” said the 26-year-old.
“As a rider, I think I would like security in my life because it is not like I’m on a one-year contract any more to try and prove myself to maybe get a better contract [the year after].
“But nothing really changes. I just seem to stay on a one-year contract and have to renegotiate next year.
“That’s the way the cookie crumbles and clearly they want to keep options open always.
“It makes you nervous but it is what it is. It’s the business we’re in.”
The man on #43 has been directly contracted to Ducati since the move from the Honda ranks to Pramac Racing in 2018.
Miller’s new agreement brings him into line with Francesco Bagnaia, who remained his team-mate by making the same move into the factory team in the last off-season, but on a two-year term.
Ducati has now also renewed with Pramac itself, for three more years, and it would appear that it will soon sign up Valentino Rossi’s Team VR46 and current Aprilia factory squad Gresini Racing.
Rossi has publicly gone as far as naming Ducati and Yamaha each a fifty-fifty chance of linking with VR46, while Gresini confirmed last December that it would revert to independent status in 2022.
While eight bikes would take the Bologna marque to at least double the presence of any other manufacturer on the MotoGP grid, Miller has no qualms about that programme.
He also suggested that Pramac would continue to have the latest-spec Desmosedici motorcycles, meaning VR46 and Gresini would be given the GP21s.
“I’m not stressed at all about eight Ducatis,” he declared.
“It would be fantastic and I think we can provide a fantastic package for satellite teams.
“If there are eight Ducatis then I guess mine and Pecco’s [Bagnaia] 2021s will go to one team and Johann [Zarco’s] and Jorge’s [Martin] ’21s will go to another team.
“If that’s what they plan to do, then they have everything in place to do it. I feel that Ducati Corse can provide this base for the teams.”
Ducati has supplied a total of eight bikes as recently as 2018, including for its two present customers and the Angel Nieto Team (nee: Aspar).
The latter morphed into SRT and became a Yamaha satellite outfit, while Honda squad Marc VDS dropped out altogether, meaning the field was reduced to 22 full-time entries.
That figure is, however, set to rebound to 24 given Aprilia’s move to take charge of its factory programme and VR46’s arrival in place of Esponsorama Racing.
While there are still several loose ends to tie up, it would appear that a standard grid will be the aforementioned eight Ducatis along with four Yamahas, including SRT’s; four KTMs, including Tech3’s; four Hondas, including LCR’s; the two Suzukis, and two Aprilias.
One of those Tech3 KTMs will be piloted by Remy Gardner, whose move into MotoGP was confirmed overnight.
Round 7 of the 2021 season, the Catalan Grand Prix, takes place this weekend.