Jack Miller: It’d be stupid not to watch rivals for Ducati MotoGP seat

Jack Miller accepts he needs to hit the ground running in Qatar if he is to retain his hard-earned berth in the Ducati MotoGP team for the 2023 season

Jack Miller - Ducati MotoGP GP22

Jack Miller says he will be going to the opening round of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship in Qatar ‘hungrier’ than in 2021, but this time to ensure he can hold onto his Ducati Corse seat.

The Australian is considered one of the riders most under threat for their seat after an indifferent 2021 campaign - his first in factory Ducati red after three seasons in the satellite Pramac team - that yielded two wins but saw him comfortably out-performed by less experienced team-mate Pecco Bagnaia.

Together with Ducati stablemates Johann Zarco, Jorge Martin and Enea Bastianini impressing last season - the latter of which has proven especially fast in pre-season testing - Miller, who didn’t set the timesheets alight in Sepang and Mandalika, concedes he has to hit the ground running in Qatar.

“It would be stupid not to watch drivers like Bastianini, even [Luca] Marini was very fast,” he told Corse di Moto. “The list is long, any Ducati can win in Qatar. It is clear that Ducati will be strong there, Qatar is a very different circuit. 

“Last year after the winter tests I thought I was going to win the World Championship. This time I'll get to the first race a little hungrier.”

“In the past, when I was driving for Pramac and Dovi and Petrucci or Lorenzo were in the factory team, we satellite drivers were faster in the Sepang tests. When you are in the factory team you have a lot more work to do.”

How under threat is Miller’s Ducati MotoGP seat?

Short answer: Very

Miller’s problem in 2021 wasn’t so much that he had a bad season per se, it was more he was the one experienced Ducati hand with a very quick bike that didn’t sparkle compared with team-mates with fewer MotoGP caps or inferior versions of the Desmo.

His problem is also the wealth of exciting talent in Ducati’s midst with at least three options to rival him for his Ducati factory ride, plus the likes of Marini, Marco Bezzecchi and Fabio di Giannantonio waiting in the wings.

Moreover, with Ducati hinting at a new deal for Bagnaia by round one, Miller realises he needs to go well from the start in Qatar at Losail, which in turn comes with the double-edged sword of being arguably the team’s best circuit.

On the one hand Miller is a favourite to top the podium, on the other hand there are several Ducati riders who will be thinking the same for themselves… and last year Miller didn’t go well in either of the two races there.

One thing to note from his quotes is the way he avoids talking about Zarco and Martin, while emphasising the quality of Pramac - is Miller already resigned to the fact he is out of the factory ride and is instead fighting for one of the satellite berths?

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