Australians and Ducati. It’s a love story that will be reignited in 2021 as Jack Miller makes the step up to the official Ducati Team, following in the footsteps of compatriots Troy Bayliss and Casey Stoner.
Rather interestingly, the latter of the two motorcycle racing powerhouses had a similar career path to Miller in Grand Prix racing. Both the Australians rode KTMs in the 125cc/Moto3™ classes, with Stoner finishing P5 overall in 2004 before he moved to the 250cc class. In 2014, Miller came within a whisker of claiming the Moto3™ title after picking up six victories – the next year would see Miller jump straight to the MotoGP™ class.
That leap saw Miller land in the safe hands of the LCR Honda team in 2015. Also after finishing second in his year before switching to the premier class, Stoner made his MotoGP™ debut with Lucio Cecchinello’s squad – and the Aussie excelled, securing a move to Ducati for 2007. After spending three years with Honda in MotoGP™, picking up a famous win at Assen – the first non-factory team win since Tony Elias in Estoril 2006 – Miller then made the switch to the Borgo Panigale based team with Pramac Racing.
We all know how Stoner gelled with Ducati, the number 27 notching up 10 victories and a further four rostrums on his way to Championship glory – the Italian manufacturer’s first Grand Prix title. Miller may have gone without a podium in his first season with Ducati, but 2019 saw the number 43 make a step up. A first dry premier class podium came his way in Austin as Miller followed it up with a further four P3s, ending the season on a high by beating factory Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso to the final step on the rostrum.
Now, Miller will wear red in 2021, replicating fellow Aussie Stoner. Ducati Corse Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti said Miller “can be one of the top riders in MotoGP” as the Bologna factory place their faith on another Australian to end their title drought.
Ducati and Australians: a match made in heaven? Miller will be hoping this particular fairy tale continues in 2021 and beyond.