Jack Miller warns he could exit Ducati without 2021 MotoGP promotion

Jack Miller says he has his sights set firmly on the factory Ducati for MotoGP 2021... and suggests he won't stick around if he doesn't land it

jack Miller - Pramac Ducati

Jack Miller has warned he will look elsewhere on the MotoGP grid if he doesn’t land the opportunity to progress to the factory Ducati team for the 2021 season amid increasing competition for the seat.

The Australian enjoyed his strongest season yet in 2019, recovering from a relatively slow start to the year on the satellite Pramac Ducati to secure five podiums and finish just adrift of factory rider Danilo Petrucci in the standings.

Indeed, Miller – riding a current-spec machine for the first time – found himself in an indirect competition with Petrucci over the 2020 factory Ducati ride after they were both handed one-year deals on the premise they could swap seats depending on form.

Petrucci’s win at Mugello ultimately led to him being confirmed for 2020 though his fortunes took a downturn thereafter compared with Miller’s, raising speculation they could indeed switch seats after all. However, this was dismissed as ‘bullsh*t’ by Ducati.

Nonetheless, Miller has the factory Ducati firmly in his sights for 2021 with both Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso out of contract. Even so, with almost the entire field also up for renewal, Miller says he will happily move to another team if he isn’t promoted for 2021.

“My main goal is to go to the factory Ducati (team),” said Miller. “If we can’t go there, for sure there’s other seats.”

Miller goes on to say there are some riders ‘on their last contracts’ without naming names and that teams should be more interested in investing in the newer generation

“I think it’s a necessary time, there’s a few guys getting around now who are on their last contracts.

“It’s quite good to see some fresh blood coming – everyone wants to see the old guys, but it’s also really nice to see some new guys coming in and doing really well.”

Jack Miller faces big competition for 2021 Ducati seat

Miller’s words shouldn’t come as a surprise given the mess Ducati created when it stalled on agreeing the Australian’s 2020 MotoGP contract because Jorge Lorenzo suddenly became available.

Indeed, though Miller has built an excellent rapport with the Pramac Racing team and is clearly at home on the Ducati, there seems to be some odds with top brass in Italy. As such, if it quibbles over its plans for 2021, Miller could be one of the first look elsewhere.

What doesn’t help him is that there is a lot of competition for the two factory Ducati seats. Assuming Andrea Dovizioso – runner-up for the past three seasons and the cornerstone of team’s fortunes – isn’t going anywhere, Miller isn’t the only rider eyeing Petrucci’s ride.

While the pressure is definitely on the Italian to perform after his odd slump in 2019, Miller could face a threat from Pramac team-mate Pecco Bagnaia, who will ride the current-spec Ducati this time. Meanwhile, Johann Zarco has also made his intentions very clear that he is only riding the year-old Avintia bike because he thinks he’ll impress enough to land a factory deal.

Then there are the wild cards that could really shake up the market. Insiders claim Ducati are very keen on luring Maverick Vinales to the team because his riding style suits the Desmosedici, while Fabio Quartararo is definitely a target if Yamaha can’t guarantee him a factory seat for 2021.

In short, Miller may be favourite for the 2021 Ducati factory seat based on his 2019 form, but the man himself may not wait around for the decision to be made for him.