The future of Jack Miller has been confirmed, with Ducati satellite team Pramac Racing announcing it will retain the Australian for the 2020 season.
Miller, who will remain on a works-spec Desmosedici bike for next year, had been in discussions with the team for weeks.
The 24-year-old was at the centre of transfer market rumours at last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, when it was revealed Jorge Lorenzo had eyes for the Ducati seat.
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Those rumours suggested Miller would be the one to leave, with the Aussie admitting the news hit him “like a tonne of bricks”.
However, it later emerged that Lorenzo had committed to seeing out his two-year deal with Repsol Honda, which ends next season.
Miller has now finally been confirmed to a one-year-extension, and despite missing out on a ride with the factory team following Danilo Petrucci’s re-signing, he will still get a chance to compete on one of the four Ducati Desmosedici GP20s.
“Our main goal is to grow young riders and give them the chance to ride the factory Ducati bike one day,” Pramac Ducati team boss Francesco Guidotti said.
“Jack is proving to have great talent and his current position in the riders’ standings is confirmation of this. We are proud to have him with us also next season and we will now stay focused on our work to achieve even greater results in 2019.”
It also emerged in Austria that Johann Zarco had sought to end his KTM contract early.
However, while also linked to that vacancy, Miller affirmed his priority was to remain with Pramac Ducati.
“I am very happy to have reached this agreement,” Miller said.
“Pramac Racing is a team that made me feel comfortable right from the start and the relationship with Ducati is very close.
“I will have again the official bike at my disposal and will do my best to achieve great results.”
Miller, the 2014 Moto3 runner-up, is competing in his fifth premier class season. He made his top flight debut with CWM LCR Honda before moving to Marc VDS Honda, where he claimed a shock Dutch TT win in changeable conditions.
His move to Pramac is beginning to reap rewards, with Miller scoring two podiums already this season. He could have made it three had he not fallen out of contention in Austria last weekend.
Miller’s contract extension had been complicated due to the fact rookie teammate Francesco Bagnaia has written into his contract that he’ll be upgraded to a works-spec bike in 2020.
Miller had been open to media about the complications, saying the team had been seeking the appropriate budget required to keep him on and run with two GP20s.
While running four works-spec bikes in 2020 may prove to be a challenge, Ducati was pleased to retain Miller.
“We are really glad to have reached an agreement with Pramac Racing that will allow our factory supported team to field Desmosedici GP20 bikes for both Jack and Pecco [Bagnaia] next year,” Ducati sporting director Paolo Ciabatti said.
“It will be the first time that Ducati will have four identical bikes in MotoGP, two for the factory Ducati Team and two for Pramac Racing.
“This exceptional effort will help us to collect and share more information and improve the development process, with the aim of obtaining even better results and stimulate a fair and positive competition among our riders.
“We are very pleased that Jack will continue with us next year, because he has shown continuous progress since he joined us in 2018, and want to thank Pramac Racing for their continued commitment to Ducati.”