Jack Miller joins Red Bull KTM for his ninth season in MotoGP and his third manufacturer as 2023 prepares for action.
Having already experienced the Austrian brand as part of the lightweight class, the 28-year-old Australian is eager to get back to business with the burgeoning project.
“It’s amazing to see the journey that KTM have been on throughout my MotoGP career, watching them grow, pretty much as long as I have!” Miller said on his new employer. “It’s been awesome to be an outsider looking-in so now to be an insider, it’s going to be a whole different ball game.
“What they’ve achieved in the small amount of time they’ve been there with a brand-new project has been pretty impressive. So, I’m looking forward to taking what I’ve learnt in my time in MotoGP and bringing it to the effort and hopefully on both parts we’re able to improve.
“A bike is a bike,” Miller continued, having already clinched wins on both Honda and Ducati “but when we’re in MotoGP, you’re talking millimetres make a massive difference so for sure this will be the biggest change.
“Going from Honda then to the Ducati and now to the KTM, I’ve been able to gain a lot of an experience before stepping on the RC16. Being fortunate enough to win on both of the other manufacturers and having the opportunity to try and win on three is going to be amazing!
“I think the initial shakedown was pretty good. Unfortunately only having one day of testing before the season started was kind of a pain but nonetheless it was a good day. It went better than I had expected because you’re always nervous stepping onto something completely different. But like I said, it went better than I had expected and we made some big strides in the first day.
“Looking back on it, it’s amazing to still be here and doing this in this day-and-age,” he said of his MotoGP career so far. “The level is ridiculous at the moment. There are that many good bikes, there are that many great riders… the times and the races and everything are closer than they’ve ever been.
“It’s amazing to be a part of the championship and be one of those guys at the front in such a competitive time in our sport’s history… to even be associated with some of the names there is awesome.”
With the competition high, and testing restrictions tightening, the pressure to adjust quickly to his new machine is greater than ever.
“Of course. I mean, we all want to do well immediately from the first race… but we’ve got a little bit to go before then,” he admitted. “There’s a clock above everybody and everybody wants results. There’s a lot of money, there’s a lot of time, there’s a lot of people’s efforts invested into the project and it all comes down to the riders at the end of the day but I try not to focus too much on that. I know if I can get myself comfortable throughout the tests and understand how to really make this bike my own then I’m sure we will be able to… with my experience and my knowledge, we’ll be able to take the best of the bike and push for the results.”
One important piece of the puzzle for Miller is the crew around him, especially as the demands of the calendar continue to increase.
“We spend the majority of the year with these guys,” the Australian commented. “As a rider, you’re essentially putting your life in their hands, with every nut and bolt that goes into that bike, so I like to have a good relationship with my crew.
“2023 is going to be a really, really different year, with the sprint races coming in. We’ll be relying on these guys now more than ever. You need a good group of guys around you that you trust, keeping them motivated. Of course you’re going to try take the maximum of that and I think working in a good environment creates that extra 10 per cent in terms of whether it be a mechanic or an engineer or so on, it creates ...[they] go the extra mile when you’re already asking a lot out of somebody. They start the weekend on - generally - a Tuesday afternoon and don’t clock off until a Sunday. They’re pushing the whole time and trying to do the best for you so the least you can do is try to create a good environment for them to work in.
“At the end of the day, I’m a normal bloke like everybody else. My job is riding a motorcycle but at the end of the day we’re all skin and bones. I think people are drawn maybe to somebody who shows normal human emotion a little bit more - in the good moments and the bad moments. People can relate to it a little bit more so I think kind of good in our sport in this day and age. A lot of people are almost robotic in their emotions, whereas I think the fans themselves like somebody they can relate to and somebody they can understand, we all go through that sort of rollercoaster, that is life.”