After signing the Australian to a two-year agreement, KTM has revealed that three-time MotoGP race winner Jack Miller has hopped on board the factory racing team next season. Miguel Oliveira will be replaced by Jack Miller, who has been linked with a transfer to KTM since the French MotoGP at Le Mans. Links to KTM got stronger in recent weeks as it became evident that Ducati was looking to replace Miller in its factory team.
Miller will now switch to his third manufacturer since his MotoGP debut back in 2015 with Honda, after spending the previous five seasons, including the current 2022 season, with Ducati. Miller's move to KTM will also reconnect him with Francesco Guidotti, who took over as Red Bull Factory Racing Team Manager earlier this year after leaving Pramac Ducati. "Having Jack alongside Brad in our team means we have another strong asset," said Guidotti in a report published by CRASH. "I know him well, I know how he likes to work and what he can bring to the box.” Guidotti concluded, "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.”
Miller has had a decent start to the 2022 season, but the seasoned Australian has struggled to find consistency, as the previous two rounds have shown. Miller got three points in both Mugello and Barcelona, but one of his prospective successors, Jorge Martin, was racing at the front in Barcelona and finished second after Aleix Espargaro's last-lap disaster. Enea Bastianini of Gresini is the only rider with more than two victories so far this season, and it seems that Bastianini is indeed the preferred racer to replace Miller in the factory Lenovo Ducati team.
Miller was formerly a member of the KTM program in Moto3, and Director of KTM Motorsport Pit Beirer feels Miller's acquisition is vital for the team. In a report by CRASH, Beirer expressed his excitement of having Miller onboard: "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.”
While Miller's future has been apparent owing to his announced transition to KTM, Oliveira is not that fortunate. The Portuguese rider, who has been linked with a transfer to LCR Honda, and is still in the running to join the Japanese company, might possibly be considering a switch to Gresini Ducati. Gresini met with Oliveira in Catalunya after being offered the option to continue with KTM Tech 3, which he declined. With Bastianini on the verge of being promoted, whether to the factory or the Pramac team, a place at Gresini is set to become available.