Mick Doohan hopes Australian youngster Jack Miller will have a good bike to ride in MotoGP next year, amid speculation he’ll join the LCR Honda team.
Mick Doohan has backed his teenage compatriot Jack Miller’s anticipated jump to MotoGP next year, but says having the right bike will be crucial.
The 19-year-old’s star quality has prompted interest from elite series giant Honda and an announcement is expected as early as this week that Miller will line up on an extra bike for the LCR Honda MotoGP team in 2015.
Miller has dominated the smallest grand prix class, Moto3, this season, snaring four wins in the first half of the season. He currently leads the championship by nine points after finishing third in Sunday’s San Marino Grand Prix.
Doohan disagrees with claims the Queenslander won’t be up to the switch from a 55bhp single-cylinder four-stroke Moto3 bike to a potent 1000cc MotoGP machine that produces close to 280bhp.
“The only thing I hope is that the Honda bike he’s going to be riding next year, if that’s confirmed and true, is a step up from where it is this year – because a lot of people have done a similar thing in the past and they’ve been left wandering around in the wilderness,” said Doohan.
“I don’t think that moving from Moto3 to MotoGP is such an issue, it’s more the team and the machinery he’s on.
“For me, he’s somebody like a Kevin Schwantz – he’s raw, he’s ready to go and he’s got plenty of talent. He’s a star of the future.
“I hope that if the bike’s not up to his ability next year, that at least his ability will shine though and somebody will give him an opportunity to do something after that.”
Miller is expected to ride alongside Briton Cal Crutchlow on a second bike for LCR next year.
And he could receive extra support with speculation legendary Australian crew boss Jerry Burgess will return to MotoGP to oversee the young rider.
Burgess won 13 titles as a crew chief for Valentino Rossi, Wayne Gardner and Doohan.
“I don’t know if it is true or not, but I think for me it would be a very good option (for Miller) to have Jeremy in his box because for sure Jeremy could teach him a lot of secrets and a lot of tricks about MotoGP,” Rossi said.
Seven-times world champion Rossi broke through for his first win of 2014 in San Marino, but Doohan is convinced he no longer has the ability to challenge MotoGP’s new dominant force Marc Marquez.
“You never say never with Rossi – he’s a grand champion, and he is the Marquez of yesterday, so to speak,” Doohan said.
“Has he got that desire and will to push himself to the lengths of what Marc is doing? I’m not 100 per cent convinced.
“… I find it hard to believe that Rossi is going to get better over the next few years. I see Marquez getting stronger.”