He is yet to cross the t’s and dot the i’s but Jack Miller has confirmed he will remain with Pramac Ducati for a second MotoGP season in 2019, saying he is “excited” to step up and become the squad's number one rider aboard a GP19.

Along with current team-mate Danilo Petrucci, the Australian was vying for a seat alongside Andrea Dovizioso in Ducati’s factory team. Four weeks ago in France he was quietly confident of his chances, but the Bologna factory ultimately chose Petrucci in the wake of Jorge Lorenzo’s shock departure for Honda.

Speaking at Montmeló on Thursday, Miller appeared unfazed by Ducati’s decision and restated his excitement at leading the team in '19 “with a bike that is a potential race winner.”

“As was predicted, I’ll stay here," began Miller. "There's a GP19 here, which is good, here and in Pramac. I think it's good for us. No, I'm excited, especially to be, let's say, the number one rider next year would be nice. The pressure is on when you're the number one rider.



“In Marc VDS I sort of felt like the number one rider, but I was the number one rider fighting for fourteenth or fifteenth position, so it didn't really mean much. So it's nice to be the number one rider here, and with a bike that is a potential race winner, and for sure can be a lot of fun.”

Does he expect his relationship with the factory to differ next year to Petrucci’s current deal? “[It will be] The same support, I guess. We haven't really got into it, but I'm assuming the same deal as Danilo is on. Which is, they are basically using him like a test rider for them. Which is good, and bad, but I'm excited, I'll take the challenge.”

And he’ll be charged with developing the GP19? “I'd hope so,” he said. “You get more input into the bike and stuff like that, so it's good.”

Miller said he expected the deal to be finalised either on Thursday or Friday with his media debrief briefly interrupted by a call from factory team manager Davide Tardozzi. Interestingly, the contract, like Petrucci’s, will be out of sync with the grid's other factory riders. Both either have or are about to sign one-year deals.

“So it was planned, like we had an early option for this year, and as far as it stands at the minute, we haven't signed the paperwork, but I'm assuming it should be signed today or tomorrow, just to say that we're using the option, but nothing for 2020 onwards,” Miller said.

Are there any other details he needs to work out? “No,” he said. “Most of it is straightforward. There was talk of options and stuff like that, but for me, I'd rather just use the option that's already in the contract and then for next year, we can renegotiate.”

Miller will front Pramac’s 2019 line-up with rookie and current Moto2 championship leader Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia taking the second seat on a year-old bike. What are the Australian’s thoughts of Bagnaia’s potential?

“It will be good,” he said. “As it looks, there's a few rookies coming in, and there's already a couple of rookies that have come in and are going well already, like Franky [Morbidelli]. I'm quite interested to see where he will go, because I know the bike he's riding at the moment quite well, and he's doing a really good job on it at the minute. I think for example, if he was to step on a Yamaha, we could be in trouble, it could be another Zarco kicking around.

“It'll be a lot of fun. It's nice to see some fresh blood in the championship and it makes the racing really exciting. The younger guys coming through have always brought new blood into the championship and make the racing really exciting. I mean, you get passed by [Jorge] Lorenzo or Dani [Pedrosa] or these guys that have been here for a while, it's a lot less aggressive than if you get passed by someone who is fresh out of Moto2. You know about it.

“I was speaking about Franco with Cal yesterday, and Cal had to start with them in Le Mans when he was a little bit further back on the grid, and he said, ‘Wow, these first couple of laps were out of control.’”


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