Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - JON TUXWORTH

EF­FEC­TIVELY, Jack Miller is bet­ting on him­self.

Sign­ing a one- year deal to be the num­ber one Pra­mac Du­cati rider on a fac­tory- spec bike for the first time in his ca­reer may look risky. But it shows the self- be­lief the Townsville Mo­toGP ace pos­sesses that he will take ad­van­tage of the big­gest year of his ca­reer.

Jorge Lorenzo’s Du­cati de­par­ture, and Danilo Petrucci’s pro­mo­tion to the fac­tory team, has opened the door for the 23- year- old to make his mark in 2019, his fifth year in Mo­toGP.

Miller has had to bide his time on older bikes and “rid­ing the wheels off it” just to com­pete, which he rates the ideal prepa­ra­tion for the next step.

Cur­rently 12th in the Mo­toGP stand­ings, he believes he can com­pete im­me­di­ately on a newer bike and has backed his abil­ity by sign­ing a short term deal.

Miller is back home where he is busy im­prov­ing his train­ing fa­cil­i­ties at his fam­ily’s Kelso prop­erty be­fore he next races in Ja­pan ( Oc­to­ber 21) and Phillip Is­land the fol­low­ing week.

“It ( 2019) is a big year for me. This year’s al­ready been a big one with the change in man­u­fac­turer ( from Honda) but I think we’ve proved our­selves, be­ing on a year- old bike and still beat­ing the lat­est and great­est bikes in a hand­ful of races,” Miller said. “Rid­ing on older equip­ment is the best way to learn be­cause you re­ally have to push it to its lim­its. You’re un­der­pow­ered so you have to ride the wheels off it, and you ap­pre­ci­ate it when you get on the lat­est model.”

Miller knows an up­grade in equip­ment comes with an in­crease in ex­pec­ta­tion. It doesn’t faze him, and he is con­fi­dent he can im­prove his mar­ket value with strong re­sults.

“I took the gam­ble and de­cided to sign a one- year con­tract with Du­cati so my op­tions are open half­way through next year when deals are ne­go­ti­ated, just be­cause I be­lieve it will be a good year for us,” Miller said.

“We’re just go­ing to have to knuckle down and do the work.

“The way I’ve done it, I’m say­ing I be­lieve we can run with the best out there. With the right ma­chin­ery next year and the right team around me, which I be­lieve we have, I feel we can do well and se­cure an even bet­ter con­tract.”

Miller ( 74 points) has set his sights on break­ing the 100- point bar­rier for the first time in his ca­reer with four rounds re­main­ing.

He fin­ished 10th in the re­cent Thai­land Grand Prix, and believes his team is back on track af­ter some slug­gish mid- sea­son re­sults. Miller claimed his first ca­reer Mo­toGP pole at Ar­gentina in April, and is work­ing to­ward putting him­self in a po­si­tion to add to his maiden vic­tory at the Nether­lands in 2016.

“At Thai­land we were there­abouts but ev­ery time you get in the straight you fall be­hind, and on the cor­ners you have to put ex­tra pres­sure on your tyres and brakes,” Miller said.

“Over one or two laps it’s OK, but in a 26- lap race it’s im­pos­si­ble to do.”

Miller is hot prop­erty in Europe, Mo­toGP’s big­gest mar­ket. When he ven­tures home, he loves noth­ing more than hang­ing out with mates and en­joy­ing a ‘ nor­mal’ life.

How­ever his lat­est visit is far from a hol­i­day, as he works on trans­form­ing his train­ing fa­cil­i­ties to the point where he hopes he can base him­self at home dur­ing the Eu­ro­pean win­ter.

“Step by step we’ll build up what we need here for train­ing so when it’s cold in Europe, I can train here in­stead of go­ing to Amer­ica,” Miller said.

“I’ve got a track at the back and the idea is to get a small road bike track go­ing so I can do as­phalt train­ing.

“We’ve been cy­cling each morn­ing on The Strand and up Cas­tle Hill, a 55km round trip.”

Miller and Mo­toGP 2 rider Mar­cel Schrot­ter will be the main at­trac­tions at this week­end’s Hay­den Pittman Memo­rial at Wood­stock Mo­tocross Track.



CON­FI­DENCE: Townsville Mo­toGP rider Jack Miller at his Kelso home yes­ter­day ahead of tonight’s Hay­den Pittman Memo­rial at Wood­stock. ( In­sert top) Miller with his Pra­mac Rac­ing team af­ter qual­i­fy­ing on pole po­si­tion at the Ar­gentina GP and ( bot­tom) sign­ing au­to­graphs at the Aus­tria GP.

Miller dur­ing prac­tice at the French Moto GP in Le Mans.

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