Jack Miller’s incredibly successful jump from Moto3 to the premier class
In 2014 midway through his breakthrough Moto3 season with the Red Bull KTM Ajo squad, Jack Miller announced he wanted to jump Moto2 and move straight to MotoGP
The move was instantly met with controversy and laughs with people questioning Miller’s sanity and ego, however, Miller stuck to his guns and was adamant he was going to move to MotoGP from Moto3. There was however one small issue, the Australian rider had signed a pre-contract with Marc VDS to race for them in Moto2, this caused a few issues for Jack to move to MotoGP with HRC, however with Marc VDS running Honda’s in MotoGP, Honda had the final say in the matter.
In September 2014 it was announced that Jack Miller had signed a 3 year deal with HRC to ride their Honda RC213V-RS for LCR Honda and was the first rider to bypass the middleweight class since Leon Haslam in 2001. He just had one more goal to achieve, win the Moto3 title and move to MotoGP as a champion.
Miller fought valiantly and took four podiums in his last six races and was knocked off of his bike by Alex Marquez at Aragon who finished the race in second place, Jack finished the race in P27, scoring 0 points. The battle went down to the final round of the season with Miller winning the race, however, it was not enough, Alex Marquez was crowned the Moto3 World Champion by a mere 2 points. Jack was clearly disappointed by the result and this showed on the podium, however, it did not last long as he was riding his new MotoGP bike within days.
Jack Miller on the Red Bull KTM Moto3 bike in 2014
At the start of the season Miller was not ‘bike fit’, he didn’t have the strength required to race the bike as it should be raced, nor did he have the cardiovascular fitness to do this over a full race distance, Jack had a race against his own body. He had to get fitter and stronger as fast as possible.
Miller moved to LCR Honda alongside Cal Crutchlow for 2015 on the underpowered RC213V-RS, his results proved this taking just four point-scoring finishes with a best result of P11, he was running in a fantastic fifth place at Silverstone before crashing, knocking off his teammate Cal Crutchlow at his home race. He finished the season 19th overall scoring just 17 points. He showed some promise but people doubted the Australians ability in the top class.
At the Phillip Island round of the 2015 season, it was announced that ‘Jackass’ would move to the Marc VDS squad with Tito Rabat riding a much better Honda RC213V for 2016. His results improved slowly but surely, taking his first top 10 at Catalunya followed by a wet Assen. Jack Miller was on rails this race and won the race, a top 10 in the race before then the win after, Jack stunned the entire MotoGP paddock and was one of the 8 different consecutive winners that season, he was also the first satellite race winner since Toni Elias in 2006.
Jack Miller following his ‘Shoey’ which Honda fined him for
His results were steady with 3 more top 10’s this season, however, missed 4 races due to injury, replaced by Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl.
The race win ignited a fire inside of Jack, he had proven everyone wrong and had most importantly proven to himself that he deserves to be on the MotoGP grid. This is where Jack really started to shine. Miller took 9 top 10 finishes in 2017 with his best result of sixth place at Assen and Misano. He finished in 11th place overall, his best finish yet with 82 points.
2018 the tide shifted, Jack Miller lined up on the grid at Qatar on a Pramac Ducati, Honda had failed to keep the fast Australian rider who had taken a race win. They didn’t offer Miller the support he needed whereas Ducati had the missing piece to his puzzle, we all know how good Aussies are on Ducati’s.
Jack took 10 top 10’s in his first season on the Ducati, finishing the season in a lower place of 13th overall, however, broke his points tally record with 91 points. He took 2 fourth-placed finishes and impressed Ducati enough to give him a factory-supported GP19 for 2019.
Miller paid this debt to Ducati off in fine style, he took eight top 5 finishes including five pieces of silverware with 5 third-placed finishes including at Phillip Island in front of his home fans, friends and family. Aside from Thailand, every race Jack finished, he was in the top 10. Ending the season in fine style 8th overall in the standings with a staggering 165 points.
Following his stellar performances, Miller was granted the highest honour Ducati can bestow him, a place in their factory team. We will see Jack line up at Qatar in 2021 in the beautiful full red livery with the aim of winning the MotoGP title.
He has proven everyone who stood in his way when he jumped over Moto2 wrong and has shown that not only can it be done, it can be done in style. Miller also said to Motorsport.com that if he went back in time with the chance to jump Moto2 again, he would and has no regrets.
Featured images – www.motogp.com