Before a MotoGP race has been run in 2020, the Ducati Team has signed Jack Miller for its 2021 MotoGP factory squad. Miller, 25, has been riding a Ducati for the Pramac Racing Team since 2018–most recently on the factory Desmosedici GP19 last year. Although Miller finished in P8 in the standings last year, he was on the podium five times–clearly enough to get Miller a factory ride in 2021, with an option for 2022.
The big question is who will be Miller’s teammate. The contracts for both Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci end with the 2020 season. That means Miller’s teammate could be either rider, or someone else.
Keeping Dovi has to be on the mind of the Ducati Team. Although Dovi is 34, he has been runner-up in the MotoGP championship for the past three years. Dovi’s factory options in 2021 are limited. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, Team Suzuki Ecstar, and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing are already set.
The Álex Márquez seat at the Respol Honda Team will be up for grabs for 2021. Although it seems like ancient history, Dovizioso was a Repsol Honda Team factory rider from 2009 to 2011, finishing in P3 in the standing his final year with the Honda. It’s difficult to imagine Dovi returning to Honda, but anything is possible.
Petrucci’s time with Ducati in MotoGP appears to be over, even if Dovizioso leaves. He has been linked to the Aruba.it Racing-Ducati team as a replacement for Chaz Davies in World Superbike, or replacing the mercurial Andrea Iannone at Aprilia Racing Team Gresini in MotoGP.
Miller isn’t worrying about that, of course. Instead, he offered a frenzy of thank-yous: “First of all, I want to thank warmly Paolo Campinoti, Francesco Guidotti and all the Pramac Racing Team for the great support I have received from them in the two and a half years spent together. It is an honor for me to be able to continue my MotoGP career with the Borgo Panigale manufacturer, and I would like to thank all the Ducati management, Claudio, Gigi, Paolo, and Davide, for having trusted me and given me this incredible opportunity. I look forward to starting riding again this year, and I am ready to fully commit to the responsibility of being an official Ducati rider in 2021.”
Ducati, who disappointed Miller when they opted for Petrucci over the Australian, was effusive in its praise of Miller. “Since he arrived in the Pramac Racing Team, Jack has grown steadily, proving himself one of the fastest and most talented riders in the championship,” Ducati Motor Holding CEO Claudio Domenicali said. “So we are happy that he has agreed to ride the official Desmosedici GP bike of the Ducati Team next year. We are convinced that Jack has all the right skills to fight continuously for the positions that matter, in every race, starting already this season with the Desmosedici GP20 of the Pramac Racing Team, and taking a further step forward next year thanks to the support of the Ducati Team.”
For now, we sit tight and wait to see who Miller’s 2021 Ducati Team teammate will be.