January 6, 2023

Miller: Ducati’s 2021 MotoGP line-up change proven right

Ducati elected last season to ditch three-time championship runner-up Andrea Dovizioso and double race winner Danilo Petrucci for 2021 in favour of former Pramac duo Miller and Bagnaia.

The move came in for some criticism given Miller hadn’t won a race since 2016 and Bagnaia had just one podium to his credit ahead of this season, but both have contributed heavily to a strong campaign so far for Ducati.

Miller took back-to-back wins at Jerez and Le Mans following a tricky start to the year, while Bagnaia scored three podiums in the first four races.

Bagnaia currently sits third in the standings after the opening nine races, 47 points adrift of leader Fabio Quartararo, while Miller is 56 points back in fifth.

Though Miller admits “the real validation” will come at the end of the year, he believes both he and Bagnaia – who will remain at the factory team in 2022 – have done enough to vindicate Ducati’s decision to completely reshape its main squad for 2021.

“I think so,” he said at a track day at Barcelona when asked by Motorsport.com if he thought he done enough to prove Ducati was right to sign him.

“I think they’ve got some validation, but the real validation will be by the end of the year.

“There will be people with a microscope better and saying, ‘They could have done this better’, or something like that.

“[At] the end of the day, the decision was already done and we’re already racing and they can’t go back on that decision.

“No, I think we did a good job and Pecco and I – especially Pecco’s been very consistent, I’m trying my best to do my best job.

“But I think we’re doing a good job for the team and for the manufacturer. The manufacturer championship we are right there, and also in the riders’.”

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Ducati, which won the constructors’ title last season, is second currently and just 17 points behind Yamaha.

Two ninths and a DNF in the opening three rounds has held back Miller’s title charge in 2021 so far, but he is “quietly confident” the coming races in the second half of the season will allow him to do a “decent job”.

“We got the two victories and even the podium here in Montmelo to be proud of, but the opening couple of races weren’t ideal and the obviously the crash in Assen was unnecessary,” Miller added.

“But it’s done, we can’t change that now and we can only look to the future, to what we can do in the second half of the season better.

“And I feel quietly confident in the second half of the season, a lot more tracks that I like and a lot of tracks the Ducati likes. So, I think we can do a decent job.”

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