Miller: Pecco’s era, but title not under Ducati’s control - Exclusive

MotoGP is in a very different era to when Jack Miller joined the premier class in 2015, with three new champions in the past three seasons and a grid that’s closer than ever.

The Australian would currently “put his money” on former Ducati team-mate Francesco Bagnaia ending the run of title-winning pass the parcel, which began with Marc Marquez’s sixth crown in 2019.

But if Bagnaia is strengthening his case as the sport’s first repeat champion since Marquez, Miller feels it’s a very different contest than before, with a long list of rivals plus the complexity of Sprint races.

Ducati’s position is more secure with Bagnaia, Jorge Martin and Marco Bezzecchi at the head of the standings, then Miller’s KTM team-mate Brad Binder as best of the rest.

Trying to manage multiple riders in a title fight is “a good problem to have”, Miller said, while warning Ducati won’t have things fully under control since “everyone is racing for themselves”.

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“I feel like we’ve got a bit of a Pecco era going on now,” began Miller, speaking during an interview with at Silverstone. “The guy is extremely strong and if I was a betting man I’d put my money on him for this year, obviously, at this point.

“But he's getting a different kind of pressure than maybe some of the past champions, just in terms of a variety of guys. There’s not one [rider he’s fighting against each week], there’s six or seven.

“Don’t get me wrong, Pecco is doing a fantastic job and I think we were robbed a little bit last season of really seeing him and Fabio go head-to-head.

“But with the progression of the sport every year, it’s definitely different to the past, when it was the same guys fighting for the title year in, year out.

“It’s been getting more and more unpredictable. I think it’s great for the average fan to see so many different guys there on the podium. It makes the sport interesting.”

Jack Miller and Davide Tardozzi
Jack Miller and Davide Tardozzi

Is it under control for Ducati? “No, not at all!”

“Quite possibly,” replied Miller, when asked if the Ducati trio at the head of the world championship could trip each other up.

Or is it under control for Ducati?

“No! Not at all! I’ve been in there… I’m not saying anything bad, but at the end of the day, everyone is racing for themselves.

“They [Ducati] are giving everybody competitive bikes, which is fantastic for the sport, and then you’re always going to have that issue [of Ducati riders taking points off each other].

“It’s a good problem to have. When you’ve got three blokes up front fighting for the championship, it’s a great problem to have!

“But especially with the Sprint races and the way the season has unfolded so far, we could definitely still see some things change during the second half.

"Just because of how unpredictable and cutthroat MotoGP is at the moment.”

Jack Miller, MotoGP sprint race, British MotoGP, 5 August
Jack Miller, MotoGP sprint race, British MotoGP, 5 August

Overtaking “harder” but is it a problem?

The contradiction for MotoGP 2023 is that while lap times across the grid are closer than ever, there appears to be less overtaking.

That’s often attributed to aerodynamics, ride-height devices and front tyre overheating.

Miller feels it’s also a consequence of the competition levelling out, meaning there are few easy passes to be made anymore.

“It is harder [to overtake], don't get me wrong, but is there a problem? I don't think so,” said the 28-year-old, who has made three podium appearances in KTM colours so far this season.

“I think we've still got a lot of overtaking and we’ve seen more often than not that if the guys are fast, they're coming through.

“The problem, or what makes it harder, is also the level of the guys that you're racing.

“There’s not half-a-second difference between the next rider in consistent lap pace, now there’s only half-a-tenth.

“I think that's more the issue. Everybody’s level is so much higher and all the bikes are so much stronger. So not only has the competition risen, but it’s levelled out.

“You’ve got the Ducatis, KTMs, Aprilias up there. Yamaha has been on the podium and Honda has had a win this year, so I feel like they can be back fighting soon.

“That’s what is making it harder for an overtake to stick.”

Miller is currently eighth in the world championship, after nine of 20 rounds.

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