Jack Miller has always been a bit of a puzzle. Supremely talented but is he the real deal? Amazing on his day but is he good enough to win a MotoGP world championship?
In short, our belief, yes he is!
One of the best Grand Prix rides in any class we can remember in recent history was Miller’s 2014 Moto3 win at Phillip Island. Under massive pressure to perform in front of his home crowd and still in the title hunt, Miller produced to goods to take a throttling win. He was engaged in a race long freight train with his slower KTM clearly down on power on the straights, yet he found a way to win against the odds and take the title fight down to the wire. His race craft and determination were 2nd to none!
For anyone that has never seen that ride, watch a replay if you can, it was awesome.
So can he take that next step? Here are 5 things to consider.
1 - The Deep End
Jack Miller is the only rider on the current MotoGP grid that went straight from Moto3 to MotoGP, skipping Moto2. The option for Jack to jump straight to MotoGP from Moto3 in 2015 was one he probably couldn’t refuse. Especially seeing there was a HRC contract waived in front of him.
That said, missing Moto2 would have an impact, no matter how good you are. There are skills you learn on a middle weight bike that serve you for the rest of your riding career. Sure you can learn the same skills on a bigger bike but it takes longer.
Why? Speed perception and the ability for the brain to process things quickly. No one is immune to this, no one. It’s just how the brain works.
Having to learn the entire MotoGP tech and speed perception all at once is a monumental task.
Jack is in his 6th season of MotoGP now however due to his path, purely from an expectation level we think it should be seen as if he is only in his 3rd year.
2 – He didn’t Drown
Jack is starting to shine, getting better and better. Yes he has crashed too often at critical times in a Grand Prix however when you put the path he has taken into perspective that is more than understandable.
Not only did he survive his jump into the deep end, he had to deal with contract negotiations year to year to keep his place on MotoGP grid.
The reward for learning to swim in the deep end with the sharks is he actually has 5 years MotoGP experience under his belt now.
3 – Ducati’s Main Man
Jack Miller should now be Ducati’s main focus. He is confirmed factory rider for 2021 and Dovi is on his way out after a bit of a public spat with The factory. Furthermore Jack was faster than Dovi on pure speed at the Styrian Grand Prix, a track Dovi has been very strong on in the past.
Being only 14 point off the championship lead, there can be no doubt that Jack will receive the full weight of the Bologna factory behind him.
4 – No Marc
Anyone who thinks that the eventual 2020 MotoGP world champion only won it because Marc wasn’t there is being unfair. Sure if Marc was on the grid he would be at the front, no one would deny that.
Marc crashed and injured himself all of his own doing. Yes he rode a brilliant race in Jerez before his crash and that front end save was utterly ridiculous, wow that was really out of this world.
However, every rider faces the same risks week in and week out. Part of wining a championship is staying fit enough to ride. Marc has got away with a lot of crashes over the years, unfortunately he finally got caught out.
All that said, no Marc on the grid does give the young crop of riders fresh hope.
5 – Belief
No one denies Jack Miller is a ruthless hard charger with tonnes of bravery and skill. Yet to this date Miller has never been in a realistic shot of the title, now he is. With that comes added pressure, does he have the true inner belief to face this challenge?
This weekend we return to Misano, a track the outrageously fast championship leader Fabio QUARTARARO finished 2nd last year. In fact, all 4 Yamaha’s finished in the top 5 in 2019, only the great Marc MARQUEZ could beat them. Sure the Yamaha’s are struggling this year with their usual lack of power and their latest feature, the ultra high tech part time braking system. Still this is a track they will be strong. And so too will the sweet handling KTM’s.
In 2019 Jack finished 26 secs off the lead in 9th place, in 2018 19th and 50secs off the lead. Misano has not been a happy hunting ground for Miller in recent years.
Jack could be facing a difficult weekend coming.
Can he find the pace to be competitive at Misano?
And if not, does he have the inner belief to stay positive and deliver a performance that will keep his championship alive?
We believe he can but let us know what you think?
One thing is for sure, we’ll be cheering for Thriller Miller!