Jack Miller has confirmed that he will not be working with current crew chief Cristian Gabarrini beyond 2016 ahead of the Italian's move to Ducati, where he will team up with reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo.

While Gabarinni's appointment has not been made official, senior management at Honda indicated he will leave, with numerous sources also indicating he will re-join the Bologna factory, where he worked from 2005 to 2010.

"It's confirmed [that Gabarrini is leaving Honda]," said Miller on Friday afternoon, after ending FP2 14th fastest.

"It's a real shame. We're in the process now. A few things are going on behind the scenes. Him and I had a really good conversation down the phone. He's really sad to be leaving us. He really wanted to continue on this project but he didn't really feel like working at the moment."

Gabarrini had been assigned to work alongside Miller for the duration of his three-year Moto3 contract with HRC, which ends at the close of 2017. Instead, he will work next to Lorenzo at Ducati, along with the majority of Andrea Iannone's current crew.

"He had a good offer on the other side so he couldn't say no," continued Miller. "He had a good offer to stay with us. It's a shame but we'll go on from here and try to find someone else. I hope he enjoys his future with the '99 crew'."

Meanwhile Miller has identified Patrick Unger, his crew chief from Aki Ajo's KTM Moto3 squad in 2014, as a suitable replacement. The pair came within two points of winning the 2014 Moto3 world championship in their last year together. The Australian is hopeful of securing a replacement in the coming months before the season ends.

"Patrick Unger worked with me [in Moto3]. I know we've been in contact. He retired after we worked together to have a kid. We're trying to get him out of retirement to come back because we had a great year together. We're trying to see what we can do there.

"There are another couple of things kicking around. We're trying to go through it now before it's all signed up for next year. We'll try to get someone before the end of the season.

"We've got a two-man squad at the moment, for setting up the bike. We've got a data guy, an electronics guy and then the crew chief. And they do the data together. Next year we're working on getting a three-man squad so one is data, one is electronics and one is crew chief. It's the same as Tito is running."

It was revealed in Barcelona in June that Lorenzo's current crew chief Ramon Forcada would not make the move across to the Bologna factory. Thus a search for a suitable replacement began.

News emerged in Assen that Lorenzo had earmarked Gabarrini, who worked with Casey Stoner in his world title years in 2007 and 2011, as his favoured candidate.

While Ducati was unable to confirm the move, sporting director Paolo Ciabatti told Crash.net in Germany, "Honestly for this answer you can imagine we are not in the position to really comment on this, but it's clear that it will not be Ramon [Forcada - Lorenzo's current crew chief].

"It's also clear that it will not be Marco Rigamonti, the crew chief of Andrea Iannone. There were a few names mentioned and I think soon we will make the announcement."

Asked again whether Ducati could comment on the matter on Thursday in Spielberg, Ciabatti admitted, "I think the move is decided but I don't know if it's decided to announce."

At Ducati, Gabarrini will once again have Stoner's expertise to draw upon, with the former MotoGP world champion now enjoying his testing role for the factory.

On what made the Italian such a special crew chief, Miller added:

"I've learned so much. He's been an amazing influence, not only on my riding, but on my lifestyle. He's been really, really good with me. It's been emotional for sure. We have such a good bond together and we work really well. It really is a shame that he couldn't go on anymore. Who knows what could happen in the future. You know how it is in this paddock. Everything goes around in roundabouts.

"The way he works with the rider [is great]. He has a feeling. You get it with a certain crew chief and he's got it. They understand how the bike works and they understand from a rider's point of view what is going on. That'll be really missed with him."

 

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