Jack Miller given the hurry up by Ducati as proteges circle for MotoGP seat

It took Jack Miller seven years to get his dream of a full factory seat but a disappointing MotoGP 2021 season puts it under threat from within Ducati

Jack Miller - Ducati Corse, MotoGP, 2021

Ducati Sport boss Paolo Ciabatti says he ‘can’t hide’ his disappointment with Jack Miller’s first season as a factory rider in the 2021 MotoGP World Championship, saying he expected him to grasp the team leader mantle and fight for the title.

The Australian finally received his big break of a full factory ride with Ducati for 2021 - his first of seven seasons in the top flight - after strong podium-winning results in the sister Pramac Racing satellite team. 

However, despite a strong start to the season with back-to-back wins at Jerez and Le Mans, Miller’s form has tailed off and he has committed a series of race day errors, most notably last time out at Misano when he crashed out second place early on

It leaves him fifth in the standings, behind both his team-mate Pecco Bagnaia and also Pramac rider Johann Zarco. 

Indeed, Ciabatti says he would have expected Miller - rather than the less experienced Bagnaia - to have emerged as Ducati’s team leader in 2021.

“There is no point in hiding it, we expected Miller to fight for the title,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Whereas for Pecco we would have been happy to see him constantly in the top five. Instead, things turned out differently.

Bagnaia’s results have proven a pleasant surprise for Ducati given he was promoted almost reluctantly when the split with Andrea Dovizioso late in the season left it with few other options.

Miller fending off several MotoGP rising stars for 2023

"It is this commitment to foster young talents that has seen Ducati swell its supply from eight to six bikes in 2022 with VR46 Racing taking over from Avintia Racing and Gresini Racing joining the fold after splitting with Aprilia.

With Zarco enjoying a strong season, rookies  Jorge Martin and Enea Bastianini [pictured] already impressing on Pramac and Avintia bikes respectively, plus the incoming Marco Bezzecchi on the VR46 Racing, Ciabatti hints Miller will need to up his game next year if he wants to retain his seat for 2023.

“We recently had four factory riders on the current factory bikes. Then you need to think about what you can offer the talents of the future. And if you only have four places, it will always happen that sooner or later a driver will get a better offer from another team or factory. No manufacturer can enter ten riders for MotoGP and give everyone a good place.

“Now we have a lot of young people under contract with Martin, Bastianini, Marini, Di Giannantonio and Bezzecchi. Most of them are 24 years old or younger. 

“We will have eight MotoGP riders on the field in 2022. At the moment we have enough promising candidates for our best positions.”