Jack Miller Confirmed With Factory Ducati Team For 2021

The next piece of the 2021 rider puzzle has just fallen into place. After strong rumours over the weekend, as well as tacit confirmation from team boss Davide Tardozzi, Ducati have confirmed that Jack Miller will join the factory Ducati team for the 2021 MotoGP season, with an option to extend the contract into 2022.

The move is a logical one on the part of Ducati. Ducati have long used Pramac as a team for nurturing talent and preparing them to go into the factory squad, as they have indeed done with Danilo Petrucci. Miller had shown significant progress since arriving at Pramac in 2018, finishing the 2019 season with five podiums.

Ducati made its confidence in Miller clear throughout 2018 and 2019, entrusting the Australian to test new parts before moving them up to the factory squad. It was Miller who first tested Ducati's holeshot device, at Motegi in 2018, and also Ducati's "shapeshifter", which squats the suspension on the straight, at Buriram in 2019.

Who Miller will replace is not settled yet, though the odds heavily favor this being a sign that Ducati is moving on from Danilo Petrucci. Despite Petrucci's victory at Mugello last year, the Italian suffered a slump in the second half of 2019, with Ducati losing confidence in him by the end of the year. Petrucci came very close to being moved back to the Avintia squad after the final race of 2019 in Valencia, as Ducati sought to accommodate Johann Zarco in the Pramac squad, which would have meant promoting Miller to the factory team and moving Petrucci back to Avintia. Only strong protest from Pramac team boss Paolo Campinoti kept Miller in Pramac for 2020.

Andrea Dovizioso looks likely to stay put in Ducati, although wrangling over the Italian's contract for 2021 is still ongoing. There have been rumors of a move to Aprilia, and of approaches by KTM, but so far, these have looked more like bargaining tactics than serious proposals.

Where Petrucci goes, if he leaves, is far from clear. In a recent interview with Italian website GPOne.com, Petrucci's manager Alberto Vergani said he believes that Petrucci is out of the factory Ducati squad, and that his options are to switch to Aprilia or to move to WorldSBK with Ducati. Much will depend on what happens with Andrea Iannone, and whether the Italian is able to ride in 2021 and retained by Aprilia.

Miller's signing is the sixth to be made before any racing has taken place in 2020. Four of those signings were logical progressions, riders staying put for the foreseeable future. Fabio Quartararo's promotion to the factory Yamaha squad was also widely expected, and a logical next step, the Frenchman having had a stunning debut season with the Petronas Yamaha team. Miller's promotion to the factory team is in the same vein as Quartararo's, a progress through the ranks to the factory team.

Ducati do not seem as certain of Miller as Yamaha were of Quartararo, however. The Frenchman was given a two-year deal in the factory team, while Miller has been given a one-year deal for 2021, with an option to extend for 2022. Ironically, the same offer given to Danilo Petrucci.

Rider line up for 2021:

Rider Bike Contract until
Monster Energy Yamaha
Maverick Viñales Yamaha M1 2022
Fabio Quartararo Yamaha M1 2022
     
     
Repsol Honda
Marc Márquez Honda RC213V 2024
     
     
Suzuki Ecstar
Alex Rins Suzuki GSX-RR 2022
Joan Mir Suzuki GSX-RR 2022
     
Ducati Factory
Jack Miller Ducati Desmosedici GP21 2021 (option for 2022)
     
     
Avintia Ducati
Tito Rabat Ducati 2021

Press release announcing the deal from Ducati:


Jack Miller to become official rider of the Ducati Team for the 2021 MotoGP season

Ducati Corse is pleased to announce that Jack Miller will be one of the two official Ducati Team riders in the 2021 MotoGP World Championship. The company from Borgo Panigale and the 25-year-old Australian rider have reached an agreement for next season with an option to extend the contract also for 2022.

Miller, who made his MotoGP debut in 2015 at just 20 years old, joined Ducati in 2018 with the Pramac Racing Team, the factory-supported team of the Bologna manufacturer, and finished last season eighth overall in the standings, taking five podiums during the year.

Jack Miller: "First of all I want to thank warmly Paolo Campinoti, Francesco Guidotti and all the Pramac Racing Team for the great support I have received from them in the two and a half years spent together. It is an honour for me to be able to continue my MotoGP career with the Borgo Panigale manufacturer and I would like to thank all the Ducati management, Claudio, Gigi, Paolo and Davide, for having trusted me and given me this incredible opportunity. I look forward to starting riding again this year, and I am ready to fully commit to the responsibility of being an official Ducati rider in 2021."

Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati Motor Holding: "Since he arrived in the Pramac Racing Team, Jack has grown steadily, proving himself one of the fastest and most talented riders in the championship. So we are happy that he has agreed to ride the official Desmosedici GP bike of the Ducati Team next year. We are convinced that Jack has all the right skills to fight continuously for the positions that matter, in every race, starting already this season with the Desmosedici GP20 of the Pramac Racing Team, and taking a further step forward next year thanks to the support of the Ducati Team."

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Comments

I'm sad for Petrucci because of who he is, not what he is.He had an opportunity and aside from 1 highlight, he didn't get it going. Miller has earned this. High hopes for him.

 

Yet another shortsighted sput of the moment decision by Ducati based on nothing. Miller has proven to be completely unsuitable for a factory seat. Very inconsistent, way too rash, unintelligent on the track and simply not fast enough. And then the biggest problem: he's a crasher and has shown zero signs of improving on that.  People who say he earned this have simply not been paying attention and should remind themselves why Crutchlow never got a factory team ride at Honda.

Thank you for giving us your opinion regarding crasher Jack Miller Firefly.

Since you mentioned Cal Crutchlow i thought I would share with you some of what Cal has on record; https://www.motogp.com/en/news/2020/05/29/crutchlow-miller-has-the-talen...

Quoting the above article, on the official MotoGp website, Cal says "Jack Miller is one of the only guys here that has the talent to beat Marc over a season." To me that suggests Cal thinks CrasherJack is consistent rather than "very inconsistent"

CC35 goes on to say "Talent on a motorcycle, he definitely has it and I believe he has as much as anyone in this Championship, and I see him as the guy who can take the step up and take the fight to Marc over the next few years."

For reference JackAssen has one win in MotoGp in mixed conditions. Conditions where we saw many experienced & intelligent racers crash. One pole at Termas again in tough conditions due to the weather.

The Jack Miller swearing on the podium at Qatar 2014 is very different to the JM43 of today. As I see it.

"simply not fast enough" 8th in the world championship is fast enough in my personal opinion.

Thanks again Firefly.

 

Thanks for the passive-aggressive tone, very appreciated. :) Crutchlow's opinion on Miller is completely irrelevant, they're mates. Of course he's going to say that. I'm more interested in our own disagreement so that's what I will respond to.

A win in mixed conditions says absolutely nothing, the fact that most other riders with a chance had crashed out speaks against Miller here, not for him. The only other rider he was racing was Marquez, who didn't even fight because he's smart and was riding for the championship. Many other riders have one win or pole in mixed or rainy conditions. The vast majority of them are not even remotely considered championship winning material, or even factory rider material. So that says nothing. Even if it did, the man Miller is replacing has a win in dry conditions, racing directly against and beating both Marquez and Dovi at full strength.

About being 8th in the championship: Miller was handily beaten by Petrucci, despite having more podiums over the season. The reason? Consistency. Or lack thereof, on Miller's part. Most weekends he either wrecks or is just nowhere to be found. Occasionally he puts on a tyre that's simply too soft just to appear near the front for a few laps. Does that sound like a factory rider to you? Keep in mind, they gave him a factory spec bike.

I keep reading about how Miller has earned this, but nobody can give a good case as to why. He gets a few fluke good results during a season which people remember but then they forget about all the races where he either just crashes or gets lost in the midfield being mediocre.

First impressions are a bitch.

"He's a crasher"

He really isn't. 3 race crashes in 2017, 2 in 2018 and 3 in 2019. That's hardly crashing his brains out.

The quip about Ducati being shortsighted is odd as well. They literally chased all the available top end talent and missed out. The best remaining talent was their own and they gave a young guy who is on the improve and achieved 5 podiums last season a 1 year deal. They've hardly cornered themselves if it doesn't work out.

Being on a factory bike is different to being in the factory team, and the Ducati is a bike that needs to be perfectly set up to maximise its strengths. The support Jack will be getting to get the best out of his electronics and tyres will be far better than what he received at Pramac which will allow him to fight in the lead group until the end of the race far more often.  I think Miller could challenge Dovi next season. 

Fair enough Firefly, you don't have to like my "tone". I'm not a professional wordsmith like David so you may not like the way I talk shyte about motorcycle racing.

If you don't like Cal Cruthlow's opinion maybe you should hear from Aki Ajo. He knows a lot about motorcycle racing.

Marieta Evans did an interview with Aki Ajo recently. https://lnkd.in/eBTW9fF

In the interview Aki Ajo says "Ducati trust Jack's talent", he talks about JackAss's loyalty. Miller getting offers from other manufacturers & choosing to stay at Ducati. AA reckons JM43 has "really made steps". Aki Ajo states Miller has proven to be trying to improve & wants to win WITH Ducati. And has been working to achieve it. The boss of Ajo motorsports mentions trust many times in the interview.

But don't take my word for it listen to the chat with Marieta Evans, who I stumbled across thanks to MotoMatters tweets.

We are talking about racing and racers; I like this. You are entitled to your opinion. We don't have to agree.

Lets have some more "Intelligent debate about motorcycle racing".