‘Time for Miller to show his potential’
MOTORSPORT: Australian rider Jack Miller is facing a pivotal season in his career, according to MotoGP great Giacomo Agostini.
The 75-year-old, universally known to fans around the world as 'Ago', is in Australia for this weekend's Island Classic motorcycle races at Phillip Island, where he will parade a fleet of the sweet-sounding MV Agusta 500cc machines that he rode to all but one of his premier-class world titles.
Miller, too, will be aboard Italian machinery this season, switching to a Ducati run by the Pramac team.
The Italian marque has taken a punt on the 23-year-old: his contract is with the factory, not the team.
The one-year deal puts him onto the same contract cycle as the sport's elite riders, including both current Ducati factory riders Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo.
To take full advantage of the situation Miller must consistently unleash the ability he has shown in flashes, says Agostini.
"I think maybe he decide at a good moment because Ducati is very fast, has a good bike," Ago told foxsports.com.au.
"During the season last year he had some good race and some not very good, I don't know the reason.
"This is why this year I think it's time to show his potential. Because sometimes last year he had good races, very good races, very fast.
"If he has a good bike I think he'll have a good result, because after two years he has good experience and I see him becoming better.
"When he decide to change from Moto3 to MotoGP, I say the jump is too big - normally you go Moto3, Moto2, MotoGP, and he go quickly to MotoGP! MotoGP has a lot of power and a lot of technology, so he spent a lot of time learning.
"But now, I think it's a good moment for him."
The Pramac Team showed good form in 2017, Danilo Petrucci taking podium finishes with the same model bike used by the factory stars.
More than anything, it could be the human element at Pramac that unlocks Miller's best.
"With the Pramac team maybe he finds a very nice family, which maybe for him is very good," Ago added.
"This is important for the rider, to stay with the family, with the warmth of the team."
Miller will cut his first laps of 2018 this weekend when the first pre-season test gets underway at Sepang in Malaysia.