Red­ding’s 2018 GP ride un­cer­tain

Aussie set to swap fickle Honda for pow­er­ful Du­cati in 2018

Motorcycle News (UK) - - NEWS - SI­MON PAT­TER­SON MO­TOGP REPORTER si­mon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

Jack Miller will switch from Honda ma­chin­ery for the first time in his Mo­togp ca­reer in 2018 as he makes the move to Pramac Du­cati, join­ing Danilo Petrucci at the fac­tory-sup­ported satel­lite team, ac­cord­ing to MCN’S sources in the Mo­togp pad­dock.

The news has been ru­moured for weeks, with the Aus­tralian re­port­edly given a dead­line of straight af­ter the Ger­man Grand Prix (July 2) to ac­cept the deal from the Ital­ian team – a de­ci­sion that he made de­spite strong of­fers on the ta­ble from at least two fac­tory teams for next sea­son. Of­fi­cial con­fir­ma­tion isn’t ex­pected un­til af­ter Miller’s de­but at the Suzuka 8-Hour later this month on a full-fac­tory Honda.

Miller has been a Honda rider on an of­fi­cial Honda fac­tory con­tract since mak­ing the jump di­rectly from the Moto3 class at the end of 2014. Hav­ing first rid­den the un­der­pow­ered cus­tomer RCV1000R he grad­u­ated to the RC213V within the Marc VDS team.

In 2017 he’s fi­nally started to re­pay Honda for their loy­alty, find­ing the con­sis­tency that he’s been lack­ing up un­til now and putting him­self in con­tention for top satel­lite rider sta­tus.

But, still strug­gling with the dif­fi­cult-to-ride RC213V de­spite the im­prove­ments made by the Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer over the last year – and strug­gling to use his ag­gres­sive rid­ing style on a bike that forces him to be more con­ser­va­tive, the 22-year-old has ap­par­ently been tempted away by a strong of­fer from Pramac boss Francesco Guidotti to be Du­cati GP17­mounted in 2018.

It wasn’t an easy de­ci­sion for Miller to make, how­ever, with man­ager Aki Ajo be­lieved to have turned down com­pet­ing bids from both Aprilia and Suzuki – teams with rid­ers con­tracted for next sea­son but both scour­ing the mar­ket as team bosses Da­vide Brivio and Ro­mano Albe­siano show their dis­con­tent with An­drea Ian­none and Sam Lowes re­spec­tively.

With Du­cati’s GP17 ma­chine show­ing a def­i­nite step for­wards, it could well be the dif­fer­ence in ma­chin­ery that Miller needs to up his game. Like all the Honda rid­ers, he’s forced to at times tip­toe around the is­sues with front tyre tem­per­a­ture and strug­gles with a lack of top speed and ac­cel­er­a­tion.

But, with the most pow­er­ful bike on the grid un­der him next year, he could be­come a top-six reg­u­lar. With the bike look­ing very ca­pa­ble in the hands of Danilo Petrucci this year, it wouldn’t be a sur­prise if Miller was a podium con­tender in dry con­di­tions.

‘With the most pow­er­ful bike on the grid un­der him next year, he could be­come a top­six reg­u­lar’

The hard rid­ing Aussie will have Mo­togp’s most pow­er­ful bike at his dis­posal

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