Australian Jack Miller has his eyes fixed firmly on the factory Ducati seat currently occupied by Danilo Petrucci and could shift him off it at the end of this season.
Both riders are on one-year deals with their respective teams and both are equipped with the same Desmosedici GP19 as championship leader Andrea Dovizioso.
Miller, still only 24, has grown up a lot in the past two seasons and his work on and off the track is paying dividends with a mature ride to the podium at Austin. He is now only a point behind Petrucci in the championship chase and he can see the works ride on the horizon.
“It’s been step-by-step, it’s not an overnight thing,” said Miller. “Starting last year, I knew it was a make-or-break year. I really knuckled down even harder than I had before that. Same this year, I saw how well it worked last year, so I dug even deeper inside myself.
“I’m just getting years under my belt now. I’m 24, it’s time to mature up and make a good go of it. It’s starting to pay off.
“For sure, my main goal is to secure a factory seat, I’d love it to be a Ducati.
“I feel we’re doing a good job this year so far at outqualified him every time and last two races I finished ahead of him.
It’s been a good year so far but we will wait and see, normally the last couple of years I always started the year strong and let’s say around Mugello the wheels kind of fell off the wagon.
“Hopefully this year I’ll be able to keep them on and keep the ball rolling.”
Miller’s Austin podium put him sixth on the championship table, 23 points behind uber-consistent Dovizioso.