until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Miller makes important MotoGP 2025 admission

by Valentin Khorounzhiy, Simon Patterson
5 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

KTM MotoGP rider Jack Miller admits he would accept being moved to the Tech3-badged Gas Gas team in 2025, aware and understanding that Pedro Acosta is a prime candidate to take his ride.

Miller joined KTM on a two-year deal for 2023, but while his initial run of form was strong and his first season came together all right, he has been badly outmatched so far to start 2024.

Well behind fellow KTM RC16 riders Brad Binder and Pedro Acosta in the standings, Miller has 27 points to his name compared to 62 last year - a consequence of crashes and a lack of feeling, particularly in the "stiffer" front tyre compounds in the rage, which has manifested itself in an exaggerated form of Miller's familiar race pace struggles.

In the lead-up to the preceding round at Barcelona - where Miller would score three points to bring his total to five across the last three weekends - Miller seemed to be unsettled by comments made by KTM motorsport boss Pit Beirer to Motorsport-Magazin, in which Beirer voiced concerns over the performance levels of both Miller and Tech3 Gas Gas sophomore Augusto Fernandez.

Miller has long maintained that a major part of his contribution to KTM - a part he maybe feels has been overlooked by media - is how he's assisted in the development of the bike, and when asked about the impression that many riders would have his seat in a heartbeat, he said: "Means we're doing something right! Means I'm doing something right - because two years ago nobody wanted this job. 

"And I quit probably, arguably the best bike on the grid [Ducati] to come over to this job. Now it's quite a contested seat, so I think we've done a good job so far. And we'll continue to get better and better."

It is a slight embellishment - the works KTM was already a fairly credible option at that point, as Miller himself came in at the expense of fellow race winner Miguel Oliveira (who it appears would've gladly stayed otherwise), while Miller quitting Ducati came amid a very high likelihood he would be replaced by Enea Bastianini or Jorge Martin.

When he was asked whether his KTM contribution has been valued enough given "two years ago the project probably wasn't there where it is today", he said: "Not 'probably' - it wasn't.

"So I think, yes, my contribution has been enough. And it will continue to be. 

"Obviously I didn't sign up for this project to leave after two years. That's not my intention. Whether or not that'll be the way it'll be, whether or not a demotion or whatever - obviously I understand the situation is they have an extremely fast rookie, and honestly I would be pissed off in KTM's position if they managed to lose him. So I understand they need to do what they do.

"But we've made massive headway in this project, and I think we continue to build this bike to be the one that'll stop the red machine [Ducati]."

Miller's inference appears to confirm paddock reporting that the only way for KTM parent company Pierer Mobility Group to 100% ensure Pedro Acosta remains part of the family is to offer him a works KTM spot - a 2025 option is thought to be tied to that, though it would presumably come as a prerequisite of a more-desired, more-conventional two-year extension.

But that would mean no place on an orange KTM for Miller - as, while Beirer implied to MotoGP.com last weekend that even Brad Binder's 2025-26 deal contained a mechanism for him to run at Tech3 instead, there would be no competitive justification for doing that right now to keep Miller in his ride.

And when asked about the prospect of riding for Tech3 next year by The Race, Miller sounded like a rider very much aware of that - saying "of course" twice to the question of whether he'd accept that ride.

"I've said that all along. I firmly believe Tech3 isn't a satellite team anymore, it's basically a factory bike that's red. And we know that. 

"Like I said, I didn't sign up to this job to see it out after two years and not reap the benefits, you know what I mean? These projects take time. And I think that's what we're doing at the moment. And that's why you have these highs and lows, is you're building something good. 

"My understanding of the bike and trying to improve the bike has never gone away from that, and my work outside of the track has never faded. [If anything] I'm working harder now than I ever f***ing have. 

"I love the guys at KTM, I think they've done a fantastic job in such a short amount of time. 

"Obviously I think we've got four fantastic riders, and if they need to reshuffle, then they reshuffle and keep going."

The Race says

The prospect of Miller switching to Tech3 and Acosta going the other way has looked the most realistic one since the off-season - it's just Miller's current indifferent form that has boosted the prospect of KTM cutting its losses with him instead.

Only he and KTM will know the true value of his developmental contribution, but his bosses have never, ever complained about that, and while correlation isn't causation, it is true that having Miller as a factory rider has coincided with both Ducati's Desmosedici and KTM's RC16 becoming more competitive.

His current form is untenable, but it's also out of step with his career. There are familiar weaknesses but they're being exaggerated. KTM would be wise to wait and see whether the form levels out to at least a 2023-level, which would be a solid match for a Tech3 shot.

It is thought Miller has off-ramps here - namely, concrete interest from Ducati's World Superbike programme, while Spanish media has even reported a potential Honda MotoGP bid - but, unlike his predecessor Oliveira, he has clearly made peace with being shifted to Tech3.

The question then if there's a sudden free agent star in play for KTM - the availability of a Jorge Martin or a Marc Marquez would make Miller very expendable, but it is increasingly thought Ducati will keep both. And if KTM wants a rookie in the Tech3 line-up next year, you'd imagine it's Augusto Fernandez who vacates his seat to make that happen.

Miller-to-Tech3 can be a win-win for all the parties involved. But he does need to sort his weekends out.

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