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“Jack Miller? The hope is that we can make the rider with huge talent emerge,” says Alma Pramac Racing’s Team Manager Francesco Guidotti of his newest arrival. And now in his fourth season, Jack Miller’s promise has indeed been high during the first preseason tests. “When he arrived,” continues Guidotti, “We understood that we’re dealing with a guy who has changed a lot compared to his previous reputation. He seemed more reflective, and when I spoke to him his attitude was really positive, keeping a low profile.” A new man? Certainly seemingly more mature, and with a different attitude since his arrival on the world stage back when.
After coming second in the Moto3™ World Championship in 2014 and a campaign characterised by too many crashes, Miller moved into the premier class straight from the lightweight category – a huge leap that seemed risky to many in the paddock. And when he moved up, so did friend and rival Maverick Viñales - but the Spaniard was instead graduating from Moto2™, and the two took on the challenge in very different ways.
Viñales & Miller talk about moving up to MotoGP™
After his rookie year at LCR Honda characterised by retirements and few highlights, Miller moved to EG 0,0 Marc VDS in 2016. That began a new era that saw the Townsville native grow and change, culminating in his first premier class win when he took victory at Assen that first year with the team. In the pouring rain, Miller put in a mature ride and held his nerve to take the flag in style.
Miller finds redemption in Assen
Crossing the line in that Dutch GP, the best of Miller past and Miller present came together as the Australian joined that elite club of premier class winners – passing none other than now six-time World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) to achieve the feat. And in the aftermath, Miller was emotional as he explained the victory was a perfect response to his critics; having proved he belonged on the MotoGP™ grid.
A Day in the life: Jack Miller
So is Jack now no longer a ‘Jackass’? Having earnt that name and reputation for his attitude and how he approached the start of his premier class career, 2017 saw the Australian make some huge steps forward. No podiums or victories, maybe, but an awesome run of top ten results only curtailed by injury.
Miller: "That's my happy place, when I'm riding my bike"
2018 now sees Miller make another big change, settling in at Alma Pramac Racing after getting his first taste of his new Desmosedici GP17 at the Valencia test last year. Putting in some solid work during testing, Miller made the change to the new bike seem effortless – fast and consistently high on the timesheets, the Australian penciled his name next to ‘surprise of the season’ almost immediately.
Miller & Tardozzi on adapting to the Ducati
So is ‘Jackass’ a thing of the past? We’ll wait and see. But so far, the signs look good for Miller to make a serious dent in the 2018 MotoGP™ season.
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