MotoGP riders fly around at over 300 km/h and two Aussie stars are caught up in some drama before the new season has even begun.
The new MotoGP season is upon us and there are two Australians taking part in the travelling circus that sees riders fly around on motorbikes at up to 350 km/hr.
Jack Miller is the established star who has improved his overall placing every year since starting out in the big leagues in 2015.
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He finished 4th last year in a season where he claimed two race victories in Spain and France.
Miller will be looking to improve on that result once again in 2022, but the Ducati rider will be hard pressed to challenge for the championship against the likes of defending champion Fabio Quantararo and six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez, who has been cruelled by injuries the past two seasons.
The Aussie doesn’t a have a deal beyond this season, while his junior teammate Pecco Bagnaia has been guaranteed a ride in 2023.
Ducati made no secret it had hoped Miller would challenge for the title last year, but the 27-year-old is sick of speculation over his contract status.
“I see my situation the same as it is every year,” Miller told Autosport.
“I think it’s good to come in a bit hungry, not coming in like last year thinking I’m going to win the championship after the winter test.
“We just have to try and stay focused throughout the entire lot, we can’t take our eye off the ball.
“I‘m feeling good, I feel fit, I feel ready to go.
“Every year at this time, every journalist in the world starts to write s*** about it, about me, about how I’m going to lose my job, about how I’m done, writing me off.
“So, it’s just the same as it always way. There’s nothing I can do, I have no control over that. “All I can do is the best job I can on track. If I keep my job, I keep my job; if I don’t, I don’t.
“I mean, it’s just the same bulls*** I have to deal with it every year. I don’t understand why I have to deal with it and others don’t. But I just accept that and continue on.”
On the other end of the spectrum is rookie Remy Gardner, who has graduated to MotoGP after winning the Moto2 title last year.
Gardner comes from rich racing pedigree — he is the son of Australian MotoGP legend and 1987 500cc world champion Wayne Gardner.
The 24-year-old is one of five rookies coming onto the grid this season and will be looking to make his mark with Tech3 KTM.
Gardner will have to contend with his Moto2 nemesis Raul Fernandez, who suggested to Spanish media their team had favoured the Australian last year.
“It is very nice to say you are champion when you have been in the category for six years and say you are the smartest,” Fernandez said.
“No, you weren‘t the smartest, you were just the one who had the fewest obstacles in the way. “Morally it was proven that the results show that I was the strongest rider, with more wins, poles and fast laps. Remy is the champion because he scored more points, but with the speed we had and rowing against the tide, to be honest I feel morally champion.”
It’s safe to say Gardner didn’t agree.
“Who’s the champion?” he said in response.
“He can think what he thinks, but I think the team gave us both a fair shot at it and the better man won on the track. It’s a bit of bull*** if you ask me.”
Gardner is recovering from a broken wrist he sustained during a pre-season practice session.
The MotoGP season gets underway at the Qatar Grand Prix on Monday morning at 2am (AEDT).
Watch every practice, qualifying and race of the MotoGP season live and ad-free on Kayo.