Jack Miller to make MotoGP move with LCR Honda

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Jack Miller will make the huge leap into MotoGP in 2015 after it was finally confirmed the Moto3 world championship leader is to partner Cal Crutchlow in the LCR Honda squad next season.

Miller has been hand picked by HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto and will be fast tracked off a 55bhp KTM Moto3 bike to ride a production Honda in Lucio Cecchinello’s Monaco-based squad.

Miller, who currently rides for the Red Bull KTM Ajo Motorsport squad, is understood to have signed a three-year contract direct with HRC, with the first two placing him in the Monaco-based LCR squad.

Speculation about Miller’s future has been rife since the beginning of June when it emerged he was reluctant to complete a pre-planned switch to Moto2 with the Marc VDS Racing squad.

Miller signed a pre-contract agreement with Marc VDS Racing for 2015 and 2016, but denied it was a binding deal in a saga that is now likely to end in a legal battle.

The Australian has won four races in a breakthrough 2014 campaign and goes into net weekend’s Motorland Aragon with a slender nine-point advantage over Honda Alex Marquez.

His brilliant performances on track and outspoken and exuberant personality meant MotoGP bosses were immediately drawn to Miller about making the unusual career move of bypassing the intermediate Moto2 class.

Several top riders, including Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa have all doubted Miller’s decision to move immediately into MotoGP.

But the 19-year-old told MCN in a recent exclusive interview that the more people warning him off the switch, the more determined he became to make a move last completed by Garry McCoy back in 1998.

Miller will work with crew chief Cristian Gabbarini, who was Casey Stoner’s chief engineer at Ducati and Repsol Honda between 2007 and 2012 when the Aussie retired from racing.

In a statement released by LCR, which will be backed by London-based CWM World in 2015, Miller said: “I’m very happy to make the leap up to MotoGP next year, especially because I will do so alongside HRC. It’s a dream come true; I think that every rider would like to race at the highest level in the World Championship with a Honda.

“It is certainly a big jump from Moto3 to MotoGP, but I am convinced that we are ready and that, step-by-step, learning every day, we can do a great job. It’s a fantastic opportunity and I’m very excited about starting this new stage of my career with HRC, whom I wish to thank.

“I’m looking forward to working with them! In the meantime, I remain fully focused on this season’s Moto3 world championship. I will have to avoid any distraction in order to fight for the title.”

LCR boss Lucio Cecchinello, who will run a two-rider effort in MotoGP for the first time since moving to the premier class back in 2006 with Stoner, said: “Without any doubt, this is a very exciting project and a completely new challenge for us.

“We do believe that Jack will be a future strong performer in the premier class due to his undeniable talent, motivation and drive. Together with Honda we will do our best to let him familiarise himself, step by step, with the MotoGP class.

“For sure Jack will need time to learn how to ride a 1000cc machine but there is no rush, and next year will just be a learning season for him in the new Class.

“Honda has a long term plan with him and we believe that with no pressure Jack will be able to show his talent in MotoGP.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt