MotoGP rider manager: 99 percent chance Miller will be out of Ducati seat

Jack Miller

Italian MotoGP rider manager Carlo Pernat has declared it 99 percent likely that Jack Miller will exit the factory Ducati team at the end of 2022.

Miller had a rocky start to 2021, his first year with the Ducati Lenovo Team, before taking consecutive wins which helped him earn a new deal for the upcoming campaign.

However, the Queenslander continued to be a highly inconsistent runner, a point noted by team manager Davide Tardozzi with unprompted comments on television about his “up and down” season.

Those remarks came just weeks after Ducati Corse general manager Gigi Dall’Igna spoke glowingly in Spanish media of rookie sensation Jorge Martin, who had not long taken a breakthrough victory in the Michelin Grand Prix of Styria.

Martin, being a Pramac Racing rider, is already directly contracted to the Bologna manufacturer and is thus an obvious candidate for a berth in the factory squad.

While both Ducati Team riders are coming off-contract this year, Francesco Bagnaia challenged Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo for the 2021 MotoGP riders’ championship, whereas team-mate Miller did not.

The Townsville native, who had been talked of as a title favourite in the last pre-season, is thus under the gun ahead of the 2022 campaign.

However, Pramac’s other rider, Johann Zarco, is also tipped to be on the move at season’s end.

“Zarco and Miller, 99 percent, will probably leave, barring any surprises,” Pernat told GPOne.com in his native Italy.

“They will be on the market.”

Nevertheless, #43 could still find a place on the MotoGP grid going forward, based on the rest of Pernat’s assessment.

“Jack is a good bet, but he comes with a lot of ups and downs,” he added.

Intriguingly, one of Pernat’s current clients could quite clearly benefit if Ducati punts Miller.

The man who gave Valentino Rossi his first professional contract, and is an opinion leader in Italian media, nowadays manages Enea Bastianini and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

Bastianini debuted in the premier class last year with Esponsorama Racing, and rode to podiums in both Misano races, despite saddling up on a GP19 model Ducati Desmosedici.

(left to right) Enea Bastianini, Miller, and Alex Marquez

While Esponsorama has now dropped out of MotoGP, the 24-year-old remains in the Ducati fold with a new deal to ride for Gresini Racing this year.

He is thus an obvious choice to fill the breach at Pramac if Ducati chooses to promote Martin and/or drop Zarco, for whom it also holds the contract.

Much will depend on how the 2022 season begins, with new deals often decided quite early in the preceding year, although Dall’Igna is on the record as stating that he does not mind keeping his riders under prolonged contract pressure.

Asked by Speedcafe.com during the 2021 Aragon Grand Prix weekend about the aforementioned Tardozzi comments and those from Dall’Igna about Martin, Miller said he was not worried about the threat from the young Spaniard.

Ducati sporting director Paolo Ciabatti pointed to tyre management when asked recently by Speedcafe.com what Miller needed in order to be a more consistent performer.

However, he also moved to state that “nobody has doubts about Jack’s talent”.

Official track activity for 2022 starts on January 31 when the Shakedown Test for test riders and rookies gets underway at Malaysia’s Sepang circuit.

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