New doubts over Miller’s place on MotoGP grid
Tuesday 7th November, 2023 - 10:16am
Jack Miller’s place on the 2024 MotoGP grid appears uncertain again, despite KTM’s five-into-four scenario having seemingly been resolved.
The Austrian marque ended up with five contracted riders to fit into the Red Bull KTM and GasGas Tech3 teams next year when it decided to promote runaway Moto2 championship leader Pedro Acosta to the premier class.
With an announcement in October that Pol Espargaro would be relegated to a testing role in order to make room for Acosta alongside Augusto Fernandez at GasGas, its 2024 roster looked to have been settled, only for doubts to now arise about the precise line-ups.
KTM Motorsport Director Pit Beirer elected not to speak with certainty about Miller’s place at Red Bull KTM in a recent interview with German outlet Speedweek, amid the Australian’s ongoing form slump.
“Miller is planned for KTM and Acosta for GasGas,” was Beirer’s response to questioning about whether the young Spaniard might be pushed directly into the senior team.
Miller, currently in his first season at KTM, has been outperformed by team-mate Brad Binder and the trajectory is not favourable either.
With three rounds remaining in 2023, he sits 10th in the championship on 144 points, well behind Binder in fourth on 249.
His sole Grand Prix podium of the year to date came back in Round 4 at Jerez, and his most recent podium at all in the Sprint in Round 7 at the Sachsenring.
Binder, on the other hand, has four Grand Prix podiums to his name this season, including last time out at Buriram, where Miller finished 16th.
Meanwhile, Acosta arrives at Sepang this weekend with ‘match point’ in the Moto2 championship, given his lead to second-placed Tony Arbolino is 63 points with 25 on offer in each of the three rounds which remain in 2023.
One theory on the Miller-Acosta swap is that the man whom the Austrian marque is hailing as the next Marc Marquez wants the carbon chassis which has recently been given to the Red Bull KTM riders.
It is not the only late switch about which there has been talk in MotoGP, either.
Jorge Martin could yet win the championship on a Pramac-entered Desmosedici, leading to speculation he would be moved to the factory Ducati Team at the expense of Enea Bastianini.
Ducati holds the contracts for the factory team riders and their Pramac Racing counterparts, giving weight to the rumour, although there may well be further complexities in its agreements with Bastianini, Martin, and/or Pramac.