Pecco Bagnaia will miss Thriller Miller the most.
On June 9, 2022, Ducati Factory rider Jack Miller officially signed with the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team for the 2023 and 2024 seasons. While the Australian rider proved to be a valuable member of the Bologna squad for the 2021 and 2022 season, inconsistent results hampered his championship prospects. Miller won back-to-back races in 2021, but four DNFs (did not finish) pushed him down to fourth in the standings.
That pattern persists in 2022. Through 12 races, number 43 has seized four podiums, but he sits at sixth in the championship chase. Despite Miller’s up-and-down performances, he’s remained the consummate team player, helping Ducati Factory teammate Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia battle for the title in 2021 and 2022.
Last year, Miller frequently played second fiddle to Pecco during the second half of the season. As a dependable wingman, the Aussie often trailed his pack-leading teammate, shielding him from overtakes and pressure from pursuing rivals. Miller filled the same role at the 2022 British Grand Prix, guarding his teammate for four laps before finishing third in the race.
Thanks to Thriller Miller’s help, Pecco claimed victory and pulled within 49 points of championship leader Fabio Quartararo. Following the podium presentation, the outspoken Australian acknowledged his value to the team during the post-race celebrations, positing the rhetorical, “who will miss me?” to the Ducati Factory garage. Shuffling away, Pecco bittersweetly admitted, “we’ll miss him! Bastardo!”
Number 63 won’t just miss Miller’s helping hand in 2023. With young upstarts Enea Bastianini and Jorge Martin vying for Miller’s vacant seat, the Italian rider will need to fend off competition from within. Unlike Miller, Martin and Bastianini are world title holders, with the former capturing the 2018 Moto3 crown and the latter winning the 2020 Moto2 championship.
Ducati still hasn’t officially announced Jack Miller’s replacement, but many expect the team to reveal their pick by the San Marino Grand Prix on September 4, 2022. No matter who fills Ducati’s second spot, the brand will miss Miller, especially Pecco Bagnaia.