Ducati Sport boss Paolo Ciabatti says he can “not hide” his disappointment with Jack Miller’s first season as a factory rider in the MotoGP World Championship in 2021.
The Australian finally got his big break from a full factory ride with Ducati for 2021 – his first of seven seasons in the top division – after strong podium results in the Pramac Racing sister team.
However, despite a strong start to the season with back-to-back wins at Jerez and Le Mans, Miller has eased and made a number of mistakes on race day, most notably the last time he was second at Misano when he failed to finish early
This means that he remains fifth in the overall standings, behind his team-mate Pecco Bagnaia and also Pramac driver Johann Zarco.
Ciabatti says he expected Miller – rather than the less experienced Bagnaia – to act as Ducati’s team leader in 2021.
“There’s no point in hiding it, we expected Miller to fight for the title,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport. “For Pecco, on the other hand, we would have been happy to see him consistently in the top 5. Instead, things turned out differently.
Bagnaia’s results came as a pleasant surprise to Ducati as he was almost reluctantly promoted when the split with Andrea Dovizioso at the end of the season left him few other options.
Miller holds off several aspiring MotoGP stars for 2023
“It is this commitment to nurturing young talent that has resulted in Ducati increasing its offering from eight to six motorcycles in 2022, with VR46 Racing taking over from Avintia Racing and Gresini Racing after separating from Aprilia.
Zarco is enjoying a strong season, the rookies Jorge Martin and Enea Bastianini [pictured] Ciabatti, already impressing on Pramac and Avintia motorcycles as well as the new Marco Bezzecchi on VR46 Racing, hints that Miller will have to improve his game next year if he wants to keep his seat for 2023.
“We recently had four works riders on the current works bikes. Then you need to think about what you can offer the talents of the future. And if you only have four seats, it always happens that sooner or later a driver gets a better offer from another team or plant. No manufacturer can register ten riders for MotoGP and give everyone a good place.
“Now we have a lot of young people under contract with Martin, Bastianini, Marini, Di Giannantonio and Bezzecchi. Most of them are 24 years old or younger.
“In 2022 we will have eight MotoGP riders in the field. At the moment we have enough promising candidates for our best positions. “