Miller clear on Pramac bike, contract goals - 'big moves' for 2021

Jack Miller happy to stay at Pramac next year providing 'number one' status and contract length can be agreed, predicts 'big moves' in MotoGP rider market for 2021.
Miller clear on Pramac bike, contract goals - 'big moves' for 2021

Danilo Petrucci's Mugello victory combined with an imminent decision on Andrea Dovizioso's 2020 factory Ducati team-mate, means Jack Miller's best option could well be to remain at Pramac next season.

There had been little to choose between Miller and Petrucci prior to Mugello, but the Italian's debut win combined with a fall for the Australian has made Petrucci favourite to retain the official team seat.

"I went to the factory on the Monday just to do some weight distribution tests and stuff and the general feeling for me is, I think they've invested a lot of money in him [Petrucci] and we'll see what they'll do," Miller said at Barcelona on Thursday.

"For sure if I can go and win three races in a row, then it's going to make the decision really hard. But the last information I was given is the decision should be made this weekend sometime and if not at the next race weekend."

Should the decision go to Petrucci, Miller insisted he would be "stoked" to remain at Pramac - providing he keeps the same machinery as the factory team.

"I'm loving it here and happy to stay… but it's going to have to be with the right package around me."

Keeping the latest machinery might sound a formality given Miller's podium finish plus pair of fourth places so far this season, but there is a complication.

Rookie team-mate Francesco Bagnaia, currently on a year-old Desmosedici, is guaranteed a GP20 at Pramac next season. Miller's hopes of staying on the latest machinery would therefore depend on Ducati being willing to expand its effort to four factory machines.

"For sure if I'm going to stay here [at Pramac] my main goal is to be the number one rider. I think I deserve it, so we have to wait and see," Miller said.

Asked what exactly he meant by 'number one rider', Miller replied: "As most of you know, [Bagnaia] has in his contract that he should have a 2020 bike. My goal is of course to keep the [factory] bike for 2020 and also get the updates first."

On the other hand, returning to a year-old Ducati, as he raced last season, would be out of the question.

"No. I wouldn't agree to that. I feel I've done my apprenticeship and I need to be on the factory bike in order to fight with these guys," said Miller.

"I've been on satellite bikes, I've been on older bikes and it's not easy, especially at the level MotoGP is at now and how much each bike is developing each year. If you are on a year behind you are starting off with the foot behind already.

"For sure, [the 2020 bike] is a financial matter and everything, but Danilo got his first podium in Le Mans and I'd got mine in Texas on the exact same bike. So I feel I've proven myself enough already to keep - whether it will be a factory bike at a satellite team - but I deserve an up-to-date factory Ducati.

"I don't know what your guys' opinion is, but I feel that and the Ducati bosses feel that as well. They know and we've spoken about it. I think we are all on the same page, now I just need to wait and see what their plan is."

The other important factor for Miller is that his next contract is only for a single season, so that he is free to fight for the factory seats that are up for grabs in 2021.

"If I'm staying here, I've said all along I only want to sign a one-year contract because I feel it gives me extra motivation for the year after. It makes me want to work harder and gives me a better opportunity to negotiate for the next year and finally I need to sync up with these other guys on [two-year] contracts.

"Because the last three contracts I've done have been with very limited options, let's say."

Depending on the length of contract for Dovizioso's team-mate, it looks like every factory seat will be available at the end of next year.

"I can definitely see some big moves happening [for 2021]," Miller said.

"The biggest one being Rossi, seeing what he's going to do. The Vinales situation is another one because they are paying a lot of money to see him there. Jorge is another question mark. The Suzuki. Marc.

"There are so many things that can go down during 2020, it's going to be a big, big year for sure."

Three non-scores for Miller, one of them a seat issue in Qatar, means he is sixth in the world championship ahead of this weekend's Catalunya round.

Petrucci, who has finished every race, is fourth. 

Bagnaia is 18th in the standings.