Skip to content


The instant adrenaline charge of a maiden MotoGP race win has only served to focus Jack Miller on his ultimate goal. Winning the MotoGP World Championship, an ambition that history dictates will require a place in a factory team. It is 34 years since Franco Uncini was the last rider to win the premier class title with a privately entered team, Roberto Gallina’s Suzuki squad. But with all the factory contracts tied-up until 2019 it will be two years before Miller can have a crack at one of the prized slots in MotoGP. The primary targets will be Honda, Yamaha, Ducati or Suzuki who have shared every world title for the past 40 years. Which is why Miller, 22 earlier this month, is setting his focus on 2017 and building his currency in the rider market. Miller will again race with the classy MarcVDS Honda independent team with whom he scored that famous DutchTT victory in 2016.

Miller is relaxed that his immediate future is secure even as Honda consider if they will extend his factory contract into 2018.

“Definitely I want to end up in a factory team but I need to keep working towards that goal, but I’m not stressing about that now because all the places are taken,” Miller said.

“Anyway for 2018 MarcVDS are keen to keep me so my focus is on this year and doing what I can to improve.

“It’s been a roller-coaster, my first win in the Dutch TT but also some injuries and missing races but I’ve got a good base for this season.”

Miller has a simple wish list for 2017, the crucial third and final year of his factory Honda deal.

“I need a bike that turns, and more horsepower,” is Miller’s plea to Honda after a spate of front-end spills and injuries in 2016.

And a sweeter handling RC213V, one that boosts confidence in Michelin’s front tyre, is on the cards. And Honda have flagged a power-up V4 engine for factory bikes.

At the post-season 2016 Valencia test Miller tried the modified frame used by Cal Cructhlow to win at Phillip Island and believes the confidence inspiring front-end feel is a step in the right direction for his riding style. Mystery surrounds why Honda did not give Miller use of this upgrade as a gift following his astonishing wet weather win at Assen in June. It had been earlier rejected by Honda star Marc Marquez but then allocated to Crutchlow’s LCR team after his Brno GP victory.

Internal politics may have played a part once it was known that Miller’s HRC crew chief Cristian Gabarrini was departing to Ducati for 2017.

“It would have been nicer to get that updated frame a lot earlier. But with Cristian leaving it was little bit difficult to bring lot of new stuff in,” Miller said.

“I’m still to try the new 2017 chassis but Honda know that I liked the direction of the bike I rode at the Valencia test.”

And Miller admits that he has now attained a more mature approach to the business of MotoGP – trying to ease his reputation as a loose unit – in a bid to match the ever rising levels mental and physical fitness demanded of riders.

A move to an alpine house in the tax haven of Andorra, wedged in the Pyrenees between Spain and France, has been an important part of that transition.

It’s a big change from his former beachside lodgings near Tarragona but central to Miller realizing his ambitions.

“The move to Andorra has definitely been good for me, it’s great and you can’t get into too much trouble up there,” Miller said.

“I wake up in the morning with a plan, I’m a lot more organised for my training.

“I’ve matured a lot over the past 12 months especially on the training side of things. I’m a lot more professional than I was in my first year of MotoGP in 2015.

“Also my lifestyle is a lot more chilled, I’ve calmed down a bit and I’m really happy in the place that I’m in.

“I’m looking forward to this year and even getting more support from Honda in the last year of my contract.”

After surgery to remove metalwork from his right ankle in November Miller had a Christmas holiday, including some helicopter lessons, at home in Townsville before heading to southern California for a cycling focussed pre-season training block with paddock bestie Crutchlow.

By Colin Young

Photography Russell Colvin