Australian Jack Miller has confirmed overnight that he will race the final round of the 2021 Mi-Bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul, which will be staged at The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia on the first weekend of December… yes, you are reading that correctly, this is no April Fool’s joke.
Miller, who finished fourth in the 2021 MotoGP riders’ standings last weekend, will race a recently purchased Ducati Panigale V4 R from the DesmoSport Ducati team. In fact, the 26-year-old, brought the bike out of his own hard earned cash.
The bike which Miller will race at the 4.95km South Australian circuit was a spare from the Queensland based team, with a fresh engine taken to the Darwin round in mid-June but never used.
While most people might think Miller’s Panigale V4 R will be a ‘hot rod’ from hell with special parts from Ducati, rest assured it certainly won’t be quite up to the full specification of Oli Bayliss and Mike Jones’ DesmoSport Ducati’s and current Australian Superbike Championship points leader, Wayne Maxwell’s Panigale V4 R machines.
Why? Well, this is mainly due to the fact that Miller is limited from using the full race kit ECU set-ups currently fitted to the other Ducati’s being raced in ASBK. That restriction stems from the rules set in place, by Dorna, that prevent MotoGP riders testing in the off-season on Superbikes fitted with that level of telemetry.
For Miller, this will be the first time since 2019 that he has got to race down under, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In an official press release, Miller expressed his excitement by saying; “I am really excited to be able to have this opportunity and race the final round of Australian Superbike Championship.
“I would love to say a massive thank you to the guys at Ducati for allowing me this opportunity amidst our busy testing schedule.
“To go and race in front of the Australian fans is a massive privilege and honour.”
So how will Miller fair in his debut Australian Superbike Championship outing? It’s pretty unclear to be honest. Miller will no doubt have a big target on his back, but at the same time he goes into the round as a ‘underdog.’ He will be on a new bike, which he hasn’t even seen before, he’s never ridden at The Bend Motorsport Park. Then there are the tyres. The Michelin tyres he will race on will be nothing like what he uses in MotoGP land.
Miller won’t be the only international rider that will be at The Bend Motorsport Park on 3-5 December. Joining the fun and games will be Factory Honda World Endurance racer and 2017-18 FIM EWC Champion Josh Hook. Hook will be racing for the Penrite Honda Team, filling in for double Australian Superbike Champion, Troy Herfoss, who still getting back to full fitness after he hurt himself in Darwin this year.
On top of that, 15-year-old Harrison Voight, who this year competed in the Red Bull Rookies Cup and Billy van Eerde, who contested three rounds of FIM CEV Repsol Junior World Moto3 Championship, will both race in the Australian Supersport Championship.