Jack Miller has reiterated his desire to remain within the Ducati fold for the 2023 MotoGP World Championship season, even if it means reverting back to the satellite Pramac Racing team.
The Australian – who secured his first podium of the season in Texas over the weekend with a run to third at COTA – has for several weeks been the subject of speculation regarding his future in the factory team following a lackluster 2021 campaign and amid rise of Ducati’s protégés.
Indeed, with Ducati having already filled one of its seats for 2023 with Bagnaia, Miller’s spot is under threat from Pramac’s Jorge Martin and Gresini’s two-time race-winning championship leader Enea Bastianini.
While Miller maintains he is determined to fight for his place in the works set-up, his ultimate priority is to stay with Ducati, to the extent he would accept a return to the Pramac Racing squad he raced with for three seasons prior to his factory promotion.
“I’m just here to ride my motorbike and do the best I can. That’s all.
“If I get a job next year with Ducati, it is what it is. I’d be more than happy to stick around. I love the group I’m with.
“I’m just focused on this year and trying to do the best job I can do.”
“I wouldn’t care. As you can tell, the bikes are all good. They’re fantastic. I know for a fact that they’re [Pramac] on the same equipment.
“It doesn’t bother me. As long as I’m getting the opportunity to fight for podiums and be here with all the fans, living my dream, that’s the main part.”
A MotoGP side-step or a demotion?
Miller’s comments here remove one of the big question marks for Ducati as it grapples with determining how to satisfy the Aussie, Martin and Bastianini while knowing it can only give one a factory shot in 2023.
Of the trio, Miller probably has the longest odds on securing a works deal and – reading between the lines – the rhetoric from the three-time race winner while sat next to ‘man of the moment’ Bastianini suggests he is a touch resigned to this fact too.
What wasn’t clear before, however, whether Miller would be willing to stomach what could be viewed as a ‘demotion’ having fought tooth and nail at Pramac to earn his promotion in the first place.
However, in real terms, beyond their liveries there is little to choose between the two teams, with Pramac enjoying a closer relationship with its factory equivalent than any other satellite effort.
It means the notion of a demotion is in impression only, with Miller surely just as capable of performance such as that in the USA on a Pramac-prepared bike.
If Miller does revert to Pramac, then it’s bad news for Johann Zarco, who could be bumped to make way for his stablemate. While it’s neck-and-neck between Martin and Bastianini as to which rider will get the nod to go ‘red’ in 2023, whichever loses out is likely to be assured of a Pramac seat.
It would be a harsh outcome for Zarco, who has measured up against stiff internal opposition, but is hamstrung by the fact that – unlike Ducati’s four other main options – he is yet to win a race in MotoGP…