OFFICIAL: Jack Miller, Pramac Ducati deal for MotoGP 2020 confirmed

Jack Miller re-signs with Ducati to confirm his place on the 2020 MotoGP grid riding a Pramac Racing Ducati GP20 alongside Pecco Bagnaia

Jack Miller - Pramac Racing Ducati GP19

Jack Miller will race in the 2020 MotoGP World Championship with Ducati after his long-awaited Pramac Racing deal was finally confirmed.

The Australian was always expected to remain with the Italian team – satellite operation to Ducati Corse factory – to fill one of the last few remaining seats on the 2020 MotoGP grid, but the announcement comes after it emerged Jorge Lorenzo was also under consideration.

However, after much speculation and fevered media attention at this weekend’s Austrian MotoGP, Miller has now officially sealed the deal, which will see him again ride a current-specification ‘Ducati GP20’ next season

"I am very happy to have reached this agreement. Pramac Racing is a team that made me feel comfortable right from the start and the relationship with Ducati is very close,” Miller – who has scored two podiums this season - said. 

“I will have again the official bike at my disposal and will do my best to achieve great results. I would like to thank Ducati and my team for the great work they have done so far.”

"Our main goal is to grow young riders and give them the chance to ride the factory Ducati bike one day,” added Francesco Guidotti, Pramac Racing manager. “Jack is proving to have great talent and his current position in the riders’ standings is confirmation of this. We are proud to have him with us also next season and we will now stay focused on our work to achieve even greater results in 2019.”

Ducati commits to Jack Miller after Jorge Lorenzo furore

The Miller-Lorenzo episode has been perceived as an embarrassing one for Ducati.

In summary, Lorenzo – currently on the sidelines recovering from injury – has seemingly used his time off to scope out availability away from Honda in 2020 following a dismal start to his HRC career, even before the crash at Assen put him out of action. 

Offering the surprising caveat of a wage-free deal, the notion of Lorenzo returning to the manufacturer with which he scored three wins has obvious appeal. However, after it emerged Ducati's assurance its deal with Miller was done - when it wasn't - raised eyebrows from fans and illicited groans from riders that Lorenzo could still be capable of 'stirring the pot' from afar.

Between the lines, Lorenzo’s appeal was limited to a small minority – outside of the MotoGP paddock - albeit one that exerted a lot of influence at the highest levels, so Miller’s self-dictated savvy ‘leak’ to put the whole situation in the spotlight was definitely a risk.

Whilst it has had the desired effect of securing his spot on the 2020 MotoGP grid, it does arguably raise the pressure to perform too and Ducati may not need a second invitation.

Full house of Ducati GP20s on 2020 MotoGP grid

For a sport that once had an obvious split between ‘the aliens’ on factory bikes to those on year-old satellite machines, the desire to promote young talent (ie. not lose them to rival manufacturers) has seen ‘B outfits’ increasingly rise to the fore.

Ducati will take another step towards essentially having a four-rider factory team next year by supplying 2020 specification Ducati GP20 Desmosedicis to Andrea Dovizioso, Danilo Petrucci and Miller – as it does now – and for the first time Pecco Bagnaia, who rides a 2018 machine now.

The move is likely to see Yamaha do something similar with its Petronas SRT team – even though star rookie Fabio Quartararo is taking podiums on a bike referred to as ‘A-‘ – while Honda is pondering a similar move with Takaaki Nakagami, despite Cal Crutchlow’s protestations

“We are really glad to have reached an agreement with Pramac Racing that will allow our factory supported team to field Desmosedici GP 20 bikes for both Jack and Pecco next year,” Ducati Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti said. 

“It will be the first time that Ducati will have four identical bikes in MotoGP, two for the factory Ducati Team and two for Pramac Racing: this exceptional effort will help us to collect and share more information and improve the development process, with the aim of obtaining even better results and stimulate a fair and positive competition among our riders. 

“We are very pleased that Jack will continue with us next year, because he has shown continuous progress since he joined us in 2018, and want to thank Pramac Racing for their continued commitment to Ducati.”