Young Motorcyclist Jack Miller

With proven race pace and sheer determination shown consistently through the 2019 season, the Townsville Tornado is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with in MotoGP, and this year should be his best yet.

Since legendary Aussie World Champions like Mick Doohan, Wayne Gardner and Casey Stoner, there seems to be another in the making.

It’s been a wild rise to the top for Jack, and now that he’s rubbing shoulders with the best of them, he doesn’t seem phased at all, taking everything in his stride.

Born in the tropical surrounds of Townsville, Jack grew up on a farm just outside of the city.

And of course growing up he loved the outdoors, especially riding motorcycles whether it be a dirt bike or a quad, he was off for hours on end tearing through the scrub.

He even tried his hand at water skiing and cattle mustering, but it was clear it was the thrill he had for two wheels that would shape his life moving forward, especially after enjoying such early success.

Australian Dirt Track Champion

At only eight years of age when most children his age were still playing with stuffed toys, Jack became the Australian Dirt Track Champion in the 65cc category in 2003.

He backed that up with five other Australian championships in 2005, 2006 and 2007 along with numerous other local state titles in both dirt bike racing and motocross.

Everyone close to him, especially his family could see just how much talent little Jack had, and never stopped supporting him from those early days.


Dirt Bike Racing to Road Bike Racing

He soon made the transition from dirt to road racing and made his debut in Tasmania at 14, which led to him competing in the 125cc Australian Championship.

Although like many budding young racers from Australia, due to lack of resources, Jack ventured to Europe and tried his hand at racing overseas.

It didn’t take long for him to make an impact, and his breakout year came in 2011, when a string of strong performances saw him win the championship in the German IDM 125cc category, at only 16!

Of course the result placed the spotlight directly on Jack from some of the bigger race teams and gained him the attention of Caretta Technology’s Forward Racing, an Italian race team who signed Miller to ride in the 2012 Moto3 Championship.

Learning His Way To Success In Motorcycle Racing

The Townsville Tornado’s life in GP racing had begun.

Of course your first year in any sport can be both daunting and challenging, but Miller took it all in his stride and used Moto3 as a learning curve.

Whilst the bike wasn’t competitive over the course of the season, it did allow Jack the opportunity of learning the circuits he would be racing over the coming years.

His best finish that year was fourth at the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring, but he ended up finishing 23rd overall.

The following year in 2013 saw Jack move to Racing Team Germany, riding an FTR Honda chassis once again in the Moto3 class.

He did reasonably well over the season finishing seventh overall with two fifth-place finishes at San Marino and on home soil here in Australia.

Again it was a season of learning, which he would apply the following year when he once again changed teams.

This time around he moved to a factory-backed KTM for 2014, joining the Moto3 Red Bull KTM Ajo squad.

It was a much better year for Jack and was the launching pad needed to join the big boys in the premier class.

During the season, Miller recorded his first fastest lap, his first pole position, his first podium finish and most importantly his first ever victory!

He ended up winning six races that year including that amazing victory at his home race at Phillip Island, and finished runner up overall in the championship, agonisingly only two points short of World Champion Alex Marquez.

The title actually went down to the last corner of the last race.


Bold and Unstoppable Motorbike Racer

The following year is where things really took a turn for the better.

As most would know, the traditional transition to the Premier Class is through the normal channels, which means graduating from Moto 3 to Moto 2 and finally MotoGP.

For Jack though, he bi-passed Moto 2 after an offer to race in the main class in 2015, which at first raised a few eyebrows.

Many critics doubted whether he was ready and could handle the power of the big bikes – it wouldn’t take long for him to prove them all wrong.

It was a challenge Jack was up for, and something he’d been dreaming of since he was back on the farm in Townsville.

It takes a special man to be able to do what these racers do.

Not only do you need sheer determination and balls bigger than Ben Hur, but you also need the talent to match, which are all characteristics he possesses.

Our Australian Motorcycle Rider’s Proud Journey

Of course making the move to the premier class was always going to be a big step for Miller, but again it was all part of the learning curve to get him where he is today.

Forming part of an expanded two-rider Team LCR outfit alongside Cal Crutchlow, Jack finished 19th overall with this best result being 11th at Catalunya.

In 2016 he made the move to the Marc VDS Racing Team where he remained for two years, but it was in that first season with his new team that he would win his first ever premier class victory.


The Townsville Tornado’s Motorbike Racing Success

It was actually the day after my birthday which is why I remember it so well.

What a wild race! Jack was running strongly in the top 10 when the race was red flagged due to heavy rain.

When it was restarted for a 12-lap shootout, Miller found himself clinging on to the leaders in the early laps.

He was running in fourth by the end of lap one and inherited third when Andrea Dovizioso crashed, right behind factory Honda rider Marc Márquez.

On lap 3 race leader Valentino Rossi then crashed out, and a lap later Miller overtook Marquez for the race lead.

He held his nerve for the remaining laps and pulled away to claim his first ever premier class victory.

It was an amazing feat as Jack became the first Australian to win a MotoGP race since Casey Stoner back in Australia 2012, and the first satellite rider to win a race since Toni Elias in Portugal in 2006.

Astonishingly Miller’s odds of winning going into the race were said to be 750-1, making it the biggest upset in MotoGP history – if only I had a lazy $10 on him.

The rest of his season had mixed fortunes, with occasional speed being hindered by injuries, including a fractured vertebra in Austria.

He did still claim three more top 10 finishes to end the year 18th in the standings.

Obstacles Slowed Him Down

Jack returned to the team for 2017, and although he sometimes lacked that raw pace from the previous season, he appeared to have matured and found himself consistently in the points.

He recorded nine top-10 finishes during the season, with a best finish of sixth coming twice at Assen and in the wet at Misano.

And despite breaking his leg whilst training before Japan, he still returned for his home race in Australia where he led the early laps before finishing back in 7th.

In 2018 Miller moved to Pramac Racing, now riding a Ducati, siding with Danilo Petrucci, however, unlike the Italian, Miller had to stick with a GP17.

Nevertheless he scored two fourth places along with a pole position and finished the season in 13th position.

It didn’t seem like much, but it would prove to be the stepping stone to his best ever season the following year, where Jack found himself riding the current GP19 after Petrucci moved up the totem pole to join the Ducati factory team.

The season started very strong for Miller in Qatar, where he qualified 4th, but was unfortunately forced to retire in the race due to a broken seat while battling for the lead.


His Successful Season In Motorcycle Race

It was a crazy yet successful year for Jack – which saw him pick up five podiums, including one in front of his home fans at Phillip Island.

Through the year he matured as a rider and learnt that to win races it often came down to how well you managed your tyres.

The Australian GP was the perfect example where he found himself in a prime position towards the closing stages of the race.

While other riders moved their way either up and down the field as their grip came and went, Miller sat back and bided his time, cashing in over the final laps.

As the race unfolded, Miller picked his way through to fourth, which became a podium finish when Maverick Vinales crashed out of second place at Lukey Heights.

He backed that up with another podium at the final race in Valencia, ending what had been his most successful season to date.

Humble Gentleman With Strong Family Values

This year is already shaping up to be even better, especially after such positive results during end of year testing at Jerez.

But what is most refreshing is just how grounded the young Australian has remained.

He often gives his time for charity and always makes himself available to the media, even on the tough days.

I remember only a few years back during the Australian GP he was asked to meet a young boy suffering from a terminal illness.

It was only scheduled for a quick meet and greet, yet he stayed with the young boy for well over an hour.

It was a wonderful gesture, especially considering how much he was in demand over the weekend.

But that’s just the guy he is and has remained, a well-mannered young man with strong family values.

He’s also one of the most-liked racers in the paddock, but when it comes to racing, of course that’s a different matter entirely, especially when he gets that steely look in his eyes.

Just getting in the mix to race Moto GP you have to be a legendary rider, to be as competitive as Jack, that’s another step again!


Let’s Hope Jack Is Our Next Motorcycle World Champion

Something else he has on his side is youth – at only 24 years of age, if all goes to plan he should be racing for years to come.

Of course he’s destined to enjoy another successful season this year, but it’s 2021 when things should become real interesting.

Especially with so many premier class riders concluding contracts this year, made even more dramatic with the uncertain future of racing legend Valentino Rossi.

At 40 years of age, Rossi remains with Yamaha for another season.

The nine-time world champion hasn’t really been able to consistently mix it with the top guns, managing just two podium finishes in 2019.

It turned out to be his worst season since the ill-fated shift to Ducati back in 2011.

Add to that rookie Fabio Quartararo outscoring Rossi this season on a 2018-spec Yamaha.

The 20-year-old Frenchman looms as the logical replacement for The Doctor when he finally decides to call time on a remarkable racing career, which began in 1996.

It’s a departure that will create a ripple effect right across the ranks, and one that will be the catalyst for a significant shake up in the current teams.

All I can say is bring it on!

Now with a wealth of experience and the motorcycle to do it on, it seems Aussie Jack finds himself standing on the cusp of greatness.

It’s now just a matter of working out how to beat Marquez again.

Check out our LiveToRide magazines for even more intriguing material to keep your riding love alive.

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