Jack Miller on Ducati exit: ‘It’s already been a bit emotional’

Thursday at the Sachsenring saw Jack Miller speak for the first time since official confirmation he will bring a five-year Ducati MotoGP career to a close and join KTM next season.

The Australian first joined Ducati, from Honda, via the Pramac team in 2018. Ever improving results then saw Miller picked for a factory seat in 2021, where he has so far taken two wins and seven podiums.

But Miller’s future place alongside title runner-up Francesco Bagnaia was known to be under serious threat from the likes of Gresini’s triple race winner Enea Bastianini and Pramac’s Jorge Martin.

A return to Pramac was a possibility, but Miller has instead opted for a new start at the factory KTM team where, after existing on one-year deals for the past five years, he will finally have a two-year contract.

“First and foremost very happy to have that all done and to be here another two year, so you’ll have to put up with me a while longer,” Miller joked. “I’m happy and excited for what is to come. It is a good opportunity for me to change the scenery and try something different.

“I have been in Ducati now for quite some time, five years, and had an amazing experience. We had a lot of good races together and a lot of highs and lows.

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“I’m super-thankful for everything they have taught me in that time and having the opportunity to be in Pramac and go through that whole programme there and then step-up into the factory team and have three years there has been an amazing experience.

“It is something I wouldn’t change for the world, but going forwards I’m going to a decent project and with some decent people so it all good.”

Those 'decent people' include Miller’s former Pramac team manager Francesco Guidotti, now running the factory KTM team, and ex-Ducati technical coordinator Fabiano Sterlacchini, now MotoGP technical director at KTM. Miller also previously raced for KTM in Moto3 in 2014, just before his direct jump to MotoGP, while KTM's Moto2 and Moto3 team manager Aki Ajo is also his personal manager.

It’s also not the first time that KTM is understood to have approached Miller for MotoGP, having been a possible backup option if Jorge Lorenzo’s surprise talks over a Ducati return for 2020 had materialised.

“You don’t have to be a mind-reader to work out that I have a good relationship over there [at KTM] with Aki [Ajo] being my manager and Francesco,” Miller said. “But I have a great relationship with a lot of brands. I feel that you can ask anybody that I’ve worked with in the past. I don’t think there are many that have bad things to say about me. I like that.

“I try to leave on good terms and, sure, the [KTM] decision was influenced by knowing the structure over there and with Francesco. I was weighing up my options and at my age I’ve done a lot but I still have a lot to give. There was a lot that went into it. It was not a wing-it type decision.”


Jack Miller: It’s already been a bit emotional

While excited for the new start, Miller admits it was ‘a bit emotional’ when he told his current crew and team-mate of his plans.

“Before the announcement came out I went around to all the staff and had a little word with them, basically telling them what was going to happen and where we are at,” Miller said.

“It’s already been a bit emotional. Wearing this Ducati red was something that I wanted for so long, so to get it and then go away from it is emotional but as I said we have some exciting times ahead of us.

“[Eleven] races to go, so at least I’m a factory Ducati rider for those.”

Miller, currently ninth in the world championship with two podiums, added that he has been assured of full support from Ducati until his final Desmosedici lap at Valencia.

“Gigi knows if you are really pushing then he will give you the stuff. At the end of the day they want to get the best results. I’ve had it from him that they don’t want to stop and will be looking after me until the end of the year,” Miller said.

Turning to this weekend, the 27-year-old arrives looking to jump-start his form after scoring just three points in the Mugello-Catalunya back-to-back events.

“It is not through a lack of trying. I just couldn’t get it going, ever since that podium in Le Mans I have been struggling a little bit,” Miller said.

“Since testing in the winter I think we’ve been on the back foot. When we’ve arrived to tracks where we’ve had a lot of grip we’re alright, but at places where the temperature has been low or there isn’t much grip – in Barcelona it was really low – then we have struggled a lot.

“So at the Monday [test in Barcelona] we had to simulate the situation… we were able to play around a lot with the geometry of the bike. I feel it was a really successful test. Normally I hate those things but I’m really happy we had that one.”

Miller's KTM arrival means Brad Binder's current factory KTM team-mate Miguel Oliveira is set to leave KTM and is being linked with a move to Gresini. Meanwhile, Repsol Honda's Pol Espargaro is tipped to return to KTM, via a place at Tech3 - probably alongside Remy Gardner, with Raul Fernandez understood to be on the list of hopefuls at RNF Aprilia.

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