Miller on Pramac stay: I’ve got a great deal here

In light of Danilo Petrucci’s Mugello triumph, Jack Miller says he would be content to remain a member of the Pramac Ducati squad for 2020.
Miller on Pramac stay: I’ve got a great deal here

Jack Miller has said he would be content to remain in the Pramac Ducati squad, where he has “a great deal,” for a third year into 2020 but stated he expects to be using the same equipment as the factory machines.

Since the beginning of this season the Australian has been contending with current factory rider Danilo Petrucci for a place alongside Andrea Dovizioso in the Bologna official MotoGP squad.

But Petrucci’s podium at Le Mans and stunning first premier class win at Mugello, plus the close bond he has created with Dovizioso, have made him odds on favourite to keep his seat for a second year.

Miller had previously stated his aim for 2020 is to be on a factory bike, even if it meant away from Ducati. “I believe if we can do a really good job we should be in line for a factory seat somewhere,” he told last November. “Here at Ducati. If not, we’ll see where the cards fall.”

But after a fantastic performance at Mugello, which ended with a crash out of fifth place at turn three on the 16th lap, the 24-year old said he could see himself remaining in the Pramac-backed satellite outfit for another year.

“For sure, for sure,” said the one-time MotoGP race winner when asked if he would be content to stay at Pramac.

“I've got a great deal here. It will be interesting to see what the factory will do, because Pecco in his contract has that he will have a factory bike for next year. So we'll have to wait and see.”

Miller was referring to current team-mate Francesco Bagnaia, currently riding a year-old GP18. The Italian will receive a GP20 for 2020. Would Miller staying at Pramac depend on him receiving the same machinery?

“Of course,” he said. “[That’s] Exactly right. So we'll have to wait and see what's going to go down.”

Did he feel Petrucci’s victory at Mugello decreased his chances of securing the factory seat for 2020?

“I don't know,” he said. “I don't think about it like that, I'm just trying to focus on my job and what I'm doing. We've had, what, six Grand Prix and pretty much every one except Jerez, I've been there fighting for the lead.

“[I’ve] Just got to keep working like this, we missed eight laps today, so go out and work harder, and be a bit stronger in Barcelona.”

Ducati management have said they would more than likely reach a decision toward the end of June after the seventh race of the season in Barcelona.

On the stunning Italian Grand Prix, during which Miller consistently pushed the top four of Petrucci, Marc Marquez, Dovizioso and Alex Rins, the Australian said, “Marc was pretty strong today, but for sure that race was a lot of fun.

“It was a little scary at times, for example when Rins – that Suzuki can turn on a dime piece, because the first time Rins passed me, I had a metre, not even a metr between myself and the kerb, and he was able to make it fit and scared the shit out of me as he went past.

“And he did the same thing to Dovi. And even like Petrucci at turn two, it was quite aggressive, Marc and I were touching paint there for a little bit. It was a lot of fun, all pretty harmless sort of stuff, because we were all trying to preserve the tyre as much as we could.

“Nobody was really giving it large up through the Arrabbiatas until ten laps to go. I saw Danilo and then Marc really starting to push through there. And they immediately opened up a bit of a gap to me, that group sort of did.

“Rins was more or less pushing through there the whole way through, but that Suzuki seems to conserve its tyres quite well. So the next lap I started pushing a little bit more in my strong points, where I could.

“Sector one and a few other spots, last sector especially. And that was when I did my best lap time, and I caught back up to Rins.

“I wanted to pass him in turn one but it was going to be a little bit hairy that lap, so I knew I had a little bit of time on my side, so I just planned it to be patient.

“And yeah, he just had a big lateral slide on the entry to turn four, where I crashed. So as he had that slide, he sort of lifted the rear first up, so I braked a little bit harder in a straight line.

“And then I thought he was going to run it a little bit wide and lose the momentum on the exit, so I was going to be able to square it and drive underneath him there.

“But as I released the brakes, I released them a little bit earlier, and there was obviously a little bit too much lean angle with it, and that was enough to just upset it. I tried to hold it as much as I could on the elbow, but it wasn't to be today.

“It's a real shame. Gutted for the team, home Grand Prix for us. It's a tough one, but we showed we had great potential again, it's just a shame it ended up like this today.”