Miller ‘sort of on the outside’ as an Australian at Ducati
Wednesday 28th September, 2022 - 4:27pm
Jack Miller has felt “sort of on the outside” at Ducati’s MotoGP team given he is in Australian in a predominantly Italian operation.
The Queenslander is well into his fifth season as a Ducati rider, the first three of which were spent at satellite team Pramac Racing, but his time with the marque will come to an end in coming weeks when Valencia hosts the final round of the year.
From 2023, he will ride for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, representing something of a homecoming given he competed for Red Bull KTM Ajo in Moto3 in 2014, immediately before making the leap to the premier class.
Notwithstanding that the writing has long been on the wall regarding his place in the factory Ducati Lenovo Team, Miller has apparently maintained a positive relationship with management, and certainly with current team-mate Francesco Bagnaia.
Next year, however, Bagnaia will be joined by Enea Bastianini, riders who have already exhibited signs of tension with each other.
Miller was asked to comment on how the dynamic would develop between the two in an interview which ran live on MotoGP’s VideoPass service during last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, two days before he dominated the Motegi race.
He suggested that cracks could form between Bagnaia and Bastianini but, on the other hand, having two Italians in the team could be a positive in other regards.
“I think you struggle to find a team-mate as easy-going as me,” said Miller.
“I mean, at the end of the day, I’m the outsider here.
“I’m an Australian inside an Italian team, I don’t speak the language, so you do get put sort of on the outside, I guess you could say, a little bit.
“It makes it maybe easier for the team… I will say, I’m very open and talk to the team, and I think the team really enjoys having me around.
“But, it’s never the same – you know, the same culture, same everything – but then when you’ve got both riders that are in that same sort of category, I think it will spice things up a bit for sure.
“I think the vibe, the atmosphere in the box definitely will be different next year.
“But nonetheless, I think they’ll be very competitive.”
Ironically, Miller did displace an Italian upon arrival to the factory team, having been signed up for a promotion before Danilo Petrucci had a chance to save his seat during the COVID-delayed 2020 campaign.
When Andrea Dovizioso split from Ducati at the end of that season, Bagnaia joined him in making the step up from Pramac, and hence has only ever had the Australian as his team-mate in MotoGP.
The 2018 Moto2 champion stated before the start of racing in 2022 that Miller “deserve[d]” to retain a works ride, although Bastianini would later claim that he had only made such assertions because he feels threatened by someone who would be a more competitive team-mate.
As it stands, Bagnaia is second in the championship, Bastianini fourth on a year-old Desmosedici run out of Gresini Racing, and Miller fifth.
The former trails Fabio Quartararo by 18 points as he tries to become Ducati’s first MotoGP riders’ champion since Australian Casey Stoner in 2007.
Round 17, the Thailand Grand Prix, starts this Friday at Buriram.