Is it Miller time for MotoGP?

Published: 13 August 2014

Imagine trading in your KTM 390 Duke for the most trick Honda CBR1000RR FireBlade money can buy.

That’s about as close as you will get to a move that Jack Miller could make in 2015, with the Aussie looking certain to complete a dream switch from KTM in Moto3 to a fire-breathing 1000cc Honda MotoGP bike in 2015.

Ever since Miller’s compatriot Garry McCoy made the quantum leap from 125GPs to 500s back in 1998, nobody else has bypassed the intermediate class.

The conventional route to MotoGP is now to come through the Moto2 category, learning the demands of more powerful and heavier bikes against the fastest, hungriest and craziest young talents on the planet.

Miller is anything but conventional though. The straight talking and extrovert 19-year-old has no qualms about missing the education that Moto2 could provide.

Miller is closing in on a production Honda RCV1000R switch to LCR, which will see him partner British rider Cal Crutchlow, who has landed the team's factory RC213V machine for next season.

So if he threw himself into the lion’s den of MotoGP, would he 19-year-old be biting off more than he can chew?

MCN went to find out.

VALENTINO ROSSI
Served his apprenticeship in 125 and 250s before moving to MotoGP on a Honda NSR500 in 2000.

"Jack is a great rider and I hear that some young riders want to go straight from Moto3 to MotoGP but I don't think it’s a good idea.  The jump is too high and you need time to get used too the higher speeds.

"Maybe I am old fashioned but I think riders should come through Moto2 and try to win that championship and arrive in MotoGP more ready like Marquez, Espargaro and Bradl.

"With Jack I don't understand why because he is only 19, so he is not in a hurry. If I had to do it I would prefer to go through Moto2 but maybe Jack next year will ride in MotoGP and win."

DANI PEDROSA
Won 125 and 250GP titles before moving to MotoGP in 2006

“I like to follow the normal steps. I don’t like to jump a stage and you learn some good things in the middle class, now in Moto2 or 250s when I was coming through. But if he has a good chance, then why not take it? You can see he has good skill and I think even better skill for a bigger bike than a smaller bike but the jump is quite big.

"McCoy did it so it can be done but I wouldn’t have wanted to go straight from 125s to MotoGP because you can learn so much in the middle class. Maybe mentally you can adapt quite quickly to the speed and riding style but your body needs time to build up and you can’t do that in one winter.”

CAL CRUTCHLOW
Came through World Supersport and World Superbikes to MotoGP in 2011

“If there is an unbelievable natural talent out there it is him. It doesn’t seem to matter what it is with two wheels he is brilliant on and he reminds me a bit like Marquez. He’s not as good as Marc but he reminds me of that type of person. It is a big jump but to him it seems that riding a push bike is no different to a GP bike.

"He can make the jump for sure but I don’t believe he will be competitive in terms of racing at the front, but why waste another year if you don’t have to? I’d like to see him do it and if he gets the deal everybody is talking about then he has got nothing to lose.

"He is a great kid and I think it would be something very cool for MotoGP. As long as Jack is mentally strong I think he will be fine because he can just look to the future. If I was him then I would gamble.”

POL ESPARGARO
Won in 125s before winning the 2013 Moto2 title ahead of a MotoGP this year

“He is a top rider but I think it would be crazy because they will burn him. He needs experience and he is not winning by 10 seconds in Moto3. I tell you the level in MotoGP is really high.

"The level in Moto2 is f*****g unbelievable and if you are thinking not to do that class and grow up I think is too crazy. He is young and I don’t know why he needs to go to MotoGP so early when you look at Marquez.

"Marc did two years in Moto2 and he has a lot of years to win in MotoGP. Moto2 is the best school in the world. The bikes are very similar with the same tyres and engines and you have to give 200%.

"You learn how to fight with a big four-stroke bike. You learn how to fight for positions, brake, slide and how to ride when the bike is moving and the tyres are stressed. You need this experience to go in MotoGP. That step between Moto3 and MotoGP helps you become a man.”

SCOTT REDDING
Raced in 125s and then spent four years in Moto2 before moving to MotoGP this season

“I think it would be a mistake and like trying to run before you can walk. He is young and he should go to Moto2, even if it is for just one year. He is a good rider but a MotoGP bike is a different beast and you learn so much in Moto2.

"I can’t even explain how big the power and speed difference is between Moto2 and MotoGP, so I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like coming from Moto3. It is not that a rider couldn’t do it but in my eyes it is possibly dangerous. In Moto2 you learn about bigger and wider tyres and with the bike moving a lot.

"In Moto3 it is like the bike is on rails or it moves very little. It is his choice and I am sure he would do well anyway. But MotoGP is the top elite guys in the world on the most elite machinery, you can’t come from a Moto3 bike that can barely pull the skin off a rice pudding to something that burns tyres to pieces.

"Moto2 was a big learning curve for me and I think it was the same for Marc and Pol because we have all got the same style and I think it would be silly for him to make a big jump like that.”

ANDREA DOVIZIOSO
Was a 125GP world champion and 250GP race winner before moving to MotoGP

"Jack is a big talent and one of the best in Moto3 but I think the jump to MotoGP is too much and I don't see the reason why he has to do this. He is young and he should try to win the Moto2 championship.

"It is not so bad to win this championship.  MotoGP is a difficult class, and guys like Marquez and Espargaro have been fast from the beginning. I don't know which bike Jack could have in MotoGP and what he could do but I think it is too much. He is so young there is no reason to do this jump."

One man who has made a jump to rival the one Jack Miller could make next season is MCN tester and BT Sport expert Neil Hodgson.

He said: “In 1994 I was in 125 GPs and having a rubbish season. Kevin Schwantz crashed at Laguna Seca and he had to miss the next couple of races. The factory Suzuki team took Sean Emmett off the Shell Harris 500 and it was suggested I rode Emmett’s bike in Argentina.

"From riding a 42bhp 125 that weighed 70kg to jumping on a 500, everything felt horrendous but I knew it was an opportunity I had to take. The first time I used carbon brakes was going down pit lane in practice and on a track I’d not been to before. It was weird but I got used to the bike and by the end I wasn’t too far off the pace. I finished 15th and didn’t get lapped.”

And the former World Superbike champion believes Miller should grab a chance to move to MotoGP with both hands.

“I don’t think it is too much of a leap.  You don’t see it because nobody is given the opportunity and that’s why Jack would be good to do it. We can all see he is such a raw talent and I could see him doing a good job and I would love to see him move up.

"In the first year he’s not going to come in and take it to them but because he has not come from Moto2, he would get an extra year anyway to give him some time. If he got the chance I wouldn’t expect to see him battle in the top five but I’d expect to see him battle around the top 10. It would be exciting to see somebody take a risk.”