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‘I’m impressed’: Stoner talks up Miller ahead of new move

06/06/20

The Australian was rewarded with a factory ride.

Two-time MotoGP™ world champion Casey Stoner said he is delighted to see Australian compatriot Jack Miller following in his footsteps with Ducati.

Miller signed on with Ducati’s factory team for the 2021 MotoGP™ season last month and the 25-year-old has an option to extend his deal in 2022.

The Townsville product has been racing with satellite team Pramac Ducati since 2018 and was rewarded for his consistency with the new deal.

Stoner remains the last rider to win the MotoGP™ world title with Ducati - he did so in 2007 before repeating the feat in 2011 with Honda - and the 34-year-old said Miller deserved his big move.

“I think Jack’s really matured over these last [few] years,” Stoner told motogp.com.au.

“I’ve been impressed with the way he has structured himself, you see it in results and the way he works.

“You see his focus, his motivation, everything seems to be growing year by year.

“His results have been really consistent over these last [few] years. I think he is going to do a great job there.

“I think Ducati have made the right choice. It’s fantastic that Jack has got his opportunity, he fully deserves it.

“I’m going to enjoy seeing what he can do next year. It’s going to be very interesting and I’m really happy for Jack and for Australia to have another guy on a factory bike.”

Miller recorded five podium finishes last year, including a memorable third-place finish at the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2019 at Phillip Island.

He will become the third Australian, after Troy Bayliss and Stoner, to ride for Ducati’s factory team.

Stoner retired in 2012 after a stunning career that saw him win six times in a row at the iconic Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.

Asked to reflect on his Phillip Island wins by ex-MotoGP™ rider Chris Vermeulen in a video chat, Stoner fondly remembered his last two triumphs at the track.

“[In 2011] to have so many things line up on the same day, it was my birthday, fifth [win] in a row, home GP, second world championship - everything just sort of came together on that one day,” he said.

“It was something special and I don’t think too many people get to win a world championship on their birthday.

“[In 2012] it was an amazing weekend, to see so many fans down there [at Phillip Island] for my last race there.

“It was a little bit of an emotional weekend, thinking, ‘This is gonna be my last time on this circuit, my last time racing there’, so there was a lot going through my head that weekend. We managed to take home another win and six in a row.

“It’s something truly special when you get to do that on any circuit, but when you get to do it on your home [track], you know, it’s something I’m very grateful for.”

Stoner is also looking forward and is hopeful of getting involved with a MotoGP™ team again soon.

He is currently focusing on his health and family, but served as a testing rider for Honda Racing Corporation in 2015 and Ducati from 2016 to 2018, and is keen to return in some capacity.

“I still think I have a lot to give to the sport,” he added.

“I still think there’s certain aspects that I think, maybe, outside of the box and [that I] have a different view of things that can help in some ways.

“I know what needs to be done to win races and I think that I really have something to give back in the future.

“But at the same time, I might have to wait until this chronic fatigue passes so I can actually give a little bit more than what I currently can.

“[I am] currently trying to put all my efforts into this and my family and then we’ll see what the future holds but, to be honest, yeah, I would like to be involved a little bit more.”

Watch the full interview with Stoner and Vermuelen below.