Stefan Pierer, head of Pierer Mobility AG (ex-KTM Group) is confident that Jack Miller could be KTM Factory Racing’s “golden boy” in MotoGP – and a major trump card in the battle against Honda Racing, which the Austrian tycoon targeted in 2012.
Miller will replace Miguel Oliveira in the MotoGP KTM factory team, and it will not just be a contract, but a “triumphant return of the “prodigal Australian” to the family.”
Jack joined Red Bull KTM Ajo in Moto3 and fought for the 2014 champion title, however, was then kidnapped by Honda. According to HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto, who was steering the factory project in MotoGP, Jack could have become the new Casey Stoner. However, after 2 years Nakamoto retired, and the new bosses were not interested in Jack, and he was “leaked”. Initially, Nakamoto immediately offered Jack a multi-year contract under the formula “3 + 2” – 3 years in satellite, after which, if the parties are satisfied with the result, 2 years in the Repsol Honda factory team. But Jack never reached the second stage.
Pierer believes that the manipulation of Honda in 2015 “destroyed Jack’s brain”: Miller switched to MotoGP, bypassing Moto2, immediately received insufficient attention and technical support, besides, not the best bike to get acquainted with the Royal Class. As a result, he lacked the experience and skills to impress the Japanese. And they decided not to support it, transferring it to the obviously weakest satellite (Marc VDS Racing) with a motorcycle of a deliberately lower class.
As soon as the first 3-year part of the contract ended, the contract with Jack was terminated. The conditions that Jack was then offered at Ducati allowed him to complete his “training” and shoot as part of Pramac Racing. Plus, over-motivation and sports anger played a role: Jack regularly beat yesterday’s Moto3 rivals on the battlefields, then transferred to the Royal Class, as well as former colleagues at HRC.
“I hope Jack will make a big contribution to the KTM cause because he’s a good guy, our guy. Aki [Ayo, Ajo Racing manager, and Jack Miller’s manager since 2015], whom we fully trust, is his agent. We know that the deal will be successful and beneficial for both parties. With Brad, they will become a strong team. Jack grew up with us in Moto3. Unfortunately, Honda took him away and destroyed his brain. Then he found a way to get back on the winning path, which we are very happy about,” Stefan Pierer said in an interview with Motorsport.