Jack Miller To Join KTM Factory Team Through 2024

The next piece of the 2023 puzzle has fallen into place. Today, KTM and Ducati announced that Jack Miller would be leaving the factory Ducati squad at the end of 2022, and joining KTM for the 2023 and 2024 season to race in the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing squad.

Miller is no stranger to KTM. The Australian raced for KTM in his final year in Moto3, before making the move to MotoGP. He is managed by Aki Ajo, the veteran team manager of KTM's Moto2 and Moto3 squads. So a return to KTM is no surprise, and had been the subject of rumors for several weeks now.

Miller's arrival means that Miguel Oliveira will be departing. The Portuguese rider has been offered a place in the Tech3 KTM satellite squad, but he has publicly stated he has no interest in a return to Tech3. Oliveira has been linked to both LCR Honda and Gresini Ducati, with Ducati believed to be the most likely destination at the moment.

Miller's signing brings the number of riders with a contract for 2023 and beyond to 8. Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli will continue in the factory Monster Energy Yamaha squad, Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales will remain the Aprilia factory team, while Marc Marquez and Pecco Bagnaia will remain with Repsol Honda and Ducati Lenovo respectively. Miller and Brad Binder at Red Bull KTM are the other two.

The next announcement expected is that Pol Espargaro will switch to the Tech3 KTM team, probably taking the seat vacated by Raul Fernandez. That announcement is believed to be imminent. Fernandez is expected to join the RNF Aprilia squad for 2023, while there are strong indications that Joan Mir will replace Pol Espargaro in the Repsol Honda squad. The battle for the second factory Ducati squad is between Jorge Martin and Enea Bastianini, but a decision on that is unlikely to be taken until after the summer break.

The press releases from KTM and Ducati appear below:


Jack Miller back in Red Bull KTM orange for 2023 and 2024 MotoGP™

MotoGP Grand Prix winner Jack Miller will return to the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing family for the next two years. The Australian reignites several former alliances after he last starred with KTM machinery as Moto3™ world championship runner-up in 2014.

The 27-year-old lines-up next to Brad Binder and will run his ninth and tenth seasons in the premier class on the KTM RC16 after signing a contract that once again sees him in Red Bull KTM Factory Racing colors.

Miller turned 27 last January but already has more than a decade of Grand Prix experience, including nine victories and almost 30 podiums in both Moto3 and MotoGP classes. 2014 was the most prolific term of his career so far as a powerful union with Aki Ajo’s Red Bull KTM Ajo squad saw him snare 6 wins and only just miss out on the Moto3 title. He made a high-profile move straight into the MotoGP category for 2015, where he has gone on to establish a reputation for maximum effort, full-energy and a large personality.

Miller will link again with Francesco Guidotti having worked with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s current Team Manager for three of his eight years in MotoGP.

Francesco Guidotti, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team Manager: “Having Jack alongside Brad in our team means we have another strong asset. I know him well, I know how he likes to work and what he can bring to the box. I believe his character and the way he will ride and push our KTM RC16 will help us a lot at this stage of our project. Like Brad, Jack is a pure racer: he will find the limits and the maximum of any condition and any package and still ‘go for it’ to get the result and that is quite a rare quality. The next two seasons will be exciting!”

Pit Beirer, Director KTM Motorsports: “Of course we’ve known Jack since he made a boom with Aki and our Moto3 program and it’s a big pleasure to bring a rider of his capabilities into our MotoGP structure. He left us with a positive impression, and we’ve stayed in contact. Jack’s approach and attitude to racing are very similar to ours. I am very proud that he comes back to Red Bull KTM again and he will be a great addition to our mission.”


Jack Miller and Ducati to part ways at the end of the 2022 season

After five seasons together, three with the Pramac Racing Team and the last two as an official rider of the Ducati Lenovo Team, Jack Miller and Ducati will part ways at the end of 2022.

From 2018 to date, Jack has achieved 16 podiums with the Desmosedici GP, including two thrilling wins with the factory team in the Spanish GP at Jerez and the French GP at Le Mans in 2021. It is also thanks to Jack's results that Ducati won the Constructors' World Championship in 2020 and 2021 and the title of Best Team in MotoGP last season with the Ducati Lenovo Team.

Miller and Ducati, as always, will work hard to obtain the best results for the Ducati Lenovo Team in all the remaining Grands Prix of the 2022 MotoGP Championship, starting with the German GP that will be held in ten days at the Sachsenring.

Luigi Dall'Igna (General Manager of Ducati Corse)

"Together with Jack, we have spent five wonderful seasons, during which we have achieved truly significant goals for us, such as the two Constructors' World Titles obtained in 2020 and 2021 and last year's Best Team Title. In addition, we should not forget the numerous podiums and the two stunning victories at Jerez and Le Mans. Miller is a very talented rider who has been able to understand our Desmosedici GP at its best. He is a fair and loyal person on whose full commitment we have always been able to count. I would therefore like to thank him on behalf of Ducati, the Ducati Lenovo Team, and all our partners for these five years spent together and wish him all the best for his near future!"

Jack Miller (#43 Ducati Lenovo Team)

"It's been a really important five years for me: together with Ducati, I've achieved several podiums, including two wins that I'll never forget. In addition to the two Constructors' World Titles and the Team Title, last year, I finished fourth in the Championship, and that was my best result ever in MotoGP. Together with the Pramac Racing Team and the Ducati Lenovo Team, I have grown a lot as a rider and year after year, I have always felt like the best version of myself. Next year I will take on a new challenge, but right now, I want to think only about finishing this last season with my team in the best possible way. I thank all of Ducati Corse, my team, Gigi, Paolo, Davide, and the people who have worked with me over these five seasons".

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Comments

I’m torn between who should take jack’s vacated Ducati seat . Basti and Martinator are both fast , however both have been inconsistent ….Except Basti does have 3 wins , together they both have plenty of DMFs

teach a fast rider not to crash, but you can't teach a non-crasher to be fast. Pretty true addadge. Then there's "winners win". True again. Finally, what have you done for me lately? The Beast it is...

Pecco to Gresini. Both Bestia and Martinator to factory. Would be ideal imo.

But not without merit! I like it even though it's a bit cut throat! Let's see whether Pecco picks it up over the next races. 

I wish Jack luck. I’ve really gotten to like him since the “Jack-ass” days.  He’s outspoken with his opinions but seems like the other riders like him, and he’s been pretty faithful to Ducati. And he’s right there with Toprak on the stoppies. Is he going to make KTM a consistent race winner? I doubt it. As for his vacant seat, I don’t see Ducati bringing in another Italian like Bastianini, so my bet is on Martin. Or Alex Rins??

Given all the commotion a couple years ago of Ducati talking to Lorenzo about Jack's seat when Jorge was tiring of falling off the Honda...yeah, I'd say Jack handled that quite well and has overall been very faithful to Ducati.  Regardless if they deserve it.

Good luck to Jack Miller.
Congratulations KTM.
Jack worked with Francesco Guidotti at Pramac Racing Team.
I'm confident they will work well together.
Hope the rest of this season goes well for Miller now he has a ride for 2023 & 24.

Happy for Jack, happy he will be on the grid. Hope I'm wrong but I can't see much coming from it. That's not because of Jack, that's KTM. You never know though...some water sprinkled here and there.

^ Agreed. It will be mild. But solid, Jack can push a bike bravely. The KTM may improve soon, who knows? We have seen what Jack can do, and it is quite good. Unfortunately right now with these tires, we see that this Orange bike is off the mark. 

Which brings me to the pivotal importance of Michelin being pushed to come up with a new front ASAP. 

I think if they bring a new front there will be an equal number of woes distributed along the pit lane. Where they fall is not known. If there is a consensus that one is needed then it must come. The effects in this tight field might just as well put KTM right where they are now.

Tire changes bring pain to some, joy to others. Surely more $$ and deveopement time for all manufacturers as they try to optimize frame, swingarm, engine characteritics, etc.

Michelin is not known for good fronts so while the "new" front may be an improvement it still will be below what other manufacturers could offer relative to their rear. I have a feeling the end result of any changes will be a front that is too hard on its own and provides less than optimal grip but actually gets better with the added heat when following others. Such a tire would produce interesting racing and incentivize racing in the pack, not leading or dropping out of a group.

I wonder, time will tell. I just think that the field being the way it is right now you could leave a piece of chewing gum stuck to the front of the fairing and end up in Q1. A not so good front is just a not so good rear away from being a good front in many respects.

^ EXACTLY. Well said. The F and R need balance. Michelin rather dodged and avoided bringing out the front. Yes, there were reasons. But it has been YEARS now. 

I think that's the point but not the tyres...the bikes. They introduce the new front next race....all teams in trouble. Rapid madness begins trying to adapt their bikes to the new situation. Some teams find a nice surprise, other teams find they need a new bike. That is exactly the situation now but a couple of years on from the introduction of the new rear. Very possibly the delay is a result of the teams who do not wish to take a leap of faith and are not willing to divert effort towards bringing the new tyre with some certainty.

Sad to see Oliveira moved out given his impressive race wins. Hopefully he finds somewhere where he can helped to achieve consistency. Whether this is through a bike that performs better at a range of tracks and in a range of conditions or a team that understands and supports him so that he can be at his best more often.

I am concerned that KTM are replacing a potential race winner with  a rider more likely to podium.

Perhaps it depends on whether you are more focused on winning a championship or selling motorbikes? Jack's such a good fit with the KTM brand, I think he'll definitely sell more bikes for KTM than Olivera would, even if he doesn't win more races. It would be excellent to see Miguel on a Ducati, but I find it hard to imagine how it would happen. Damn, those two lost Suzuki seats really squeeze the market! 

What has always impressed me about Oliveira is that if the bike is 'there', he is there at the sharp end and in a position to podium or better. If he has the tools to do the job, he does it. Does seem though that when things are not 'all there' he struggles more than Brad who has been delivering a higher average regardless of wheels or no wheels. 

The paddock profits from keeping Jack around. Well liked and still young enough and with enough potential to make another step. A lot depends on the coming rubber though and KTM may find that this is only the beginning of their woes.

Glad that, in this years game of musical chairs, Jack isn’t one of the two riders who won’t have a ride next year. The downside is that there’s very rarely any re-promotion to a top team once your star begins to wane, so any hope of ever becoming MotoGP world champ are almost certainly gone forever now. Jack might do well to line himself up for WSBK in a year or two, while still young enough to become a dominant player there.

Rins' manager has already made it publicly very clear Alex will not ride for a paltry satellite paycheck so that doesn't leave many options. The music is stopping...

if the rumours come true about the rather unpleasant (and almost resultless) Raul Fernandez possibly joining RNF next year, that then would make four Spaniards on the Aprilias, if Rins goes there too. I don't think that is the desired scenario of Rivola/Aprilia. I really hope they steer clear of Fernandez. The guy has an attitude problem that dwarfs Viñales's issues. Raul pissing on teammate Gardner at the end of the season as not being the deserved champ was pretty low, I think. And then making demands to KTM for a Moto3 spot for family members as well. Followed by Raul not getting results whatsoever, either due to not being able to adapt or due to lack of motivation because he doesn't want to be there. Yes he was fast in Moto2 on a Kalex with a 140 hp three-cylinder road engine, but that's a whole different kettle of fish than a near-300 hp KTM RC16 V4 on Michelins.

Which brings me to a point that I predicted when KTM stopped making their own Moto2 chassis and started using Kalexes in KTM colours. As a rider pipeline to MotoGP, that wouldn't work nearly as well. The reason riders like Oliveira, Brad Binder and also Lecuona were pretty quick from the start in MotoGP, is that they were used to the feel of a KTM-designed steel tube frame with WP suspension. I expected future riders coming from the Ajo team to have a lot more difficulty on the RC16, after riding a aluminium beam framed Kalex with (as far as I know) Öhlins suspension as well. And now both of them seem to be on their way out already, after being dominant in Moto2.

Of course, Gardner and Fernandez also seem to be unlucky with the timing, with KTM not having the easiest of seasons anyway. But I don't think that is the biggest issue.

The thing about the MotoGP gig is that it requires both massive persistent effort and talent. Raul may have the latter but it's not entirely clear he has the former, well at least right now. Effort should not be the variable. And at this level I don't buy into the immaturity explanation. His teammate qualities seem, well, 'limited'. Gardner has adjusted a lot better to the trellis frame/WP thing but agree that looks to be an open question for others. It is impossible to forget how poorly Zarco went at KTM compared to how comparatively well he has fared at Pramac too.

Jack has many critics but to have Guidotti say: 'I believe his character and the way he will ride and push our KTM RC16 will help us a lot at this stage of our project.' tells us a few things. One is that character and I think positivity is important to KTM, particularly now. And secondly that he won't die wondering what he could achieve on the bike. The sense I get with MO is that when the bike is off the pace he really doesn't quite have the motivation. When he's good he's fantastic but when he's not... . Whereas Mr Binder is the energizer bunny of motivation.

And may I say that I really do sympathise with everyone who has had to battle with the Honda in recent years. To see Alex Marquez, Pol and Taka struggle so much has been pretty dispiriting - and yes I blame the bike and everyone not on the thing. Remember how strong AM an Taka were going in 2020? And how well Pol went at KTM? They all deserved a better chance I reckon.