KTM tried to sign Jack Miller for MotoGP 2020 after Ducati revelations

Jack Miller was courted by KTM for the 2020 MotoGP World Championship following his fall out with Ducati over its handling of Jorge Lorenzo's contact

Johann Zarco - Red Bull KTM MotoGP

It has emerged KTM attempted to lure Jack Miller for the 2020 MotoGP season after agreeing to part ways with Johann Zarco just six months into his contract.

Miller had been expected to continue with his Pramac Ducati team for 2020, only for it to emerge ahead of the Austrian MotoGP that the manufacturer had be in contact with Jorge Lorenzo about a surprise return.

With Miller’s Ducati future thrown into doubt, KTM approached Miller to scope out his interest in joining its factory effort for 2020 after it too saw its future plans thrown into disarray by its split with Zarco.

However, while Miller admits a full factory team deal was attractive and it was ‘tough’ to turn down, he is adamant he needs to stay with a better-established team at this stage in his career.

“I had to think about it, KTM are a great manufacturer and I’ve had a lot of success with them in the past and I have a great relationship with Mr Pierer and Pit Beirer,” he told reporters, including sister publication Crash.net, at Silverstone ahead of the British MotoGP. 

“I have a really good relationship with them and it was kind of tough to turn it down in that way. But for me to take a risk at this point in my career when things just start to get on track, getting some podiums and getting to where I’d like to be, it seems like in my career I have always done that.

“I just start to go well and then challenge myself immediately again, I throw myself back under the bus. I would like to spend some time not under the bus and inside a seat.”

How did the Miller-Ducati dispute begin?

The 2020 MotoGP rider line-up seemed all but confirmed ahead of Austria, with the only two remaining seats belonging to Pramac Ducati and LCR Honda, which had both indicated plans to retain Miller and Takaaki Nakagami respectively.

However, a protracted injury lay-off by Lorenzo – who won three races for Ducati during his two-year stint – led to apparent contact with the manufacturer for 2020, subsequently delaying the confirmation of Miller’s deal.

After it became clear Ducati’s Lorenzo interest was limited to a small – albeit influential – boardroom number, Miller’s 2020 MotoGP extension was eventually confirmed just two days after the event.

By contrast, KTM is still considering its options in terms of riders, with Miguel Oliveira tipped to make the step up to the factory team from the satellite Tech 3 Racing operation.

Repsol Honda rider Lorenzo, meanwhile, returns to MotoGP action at Silverstone this weekend for his first start since June’s controversial Catalunya MotoGP.