No American will be in the MotoGP field on Sept. 29 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but American Jack Miller is going to the Moto2 World Championship finale.
Miller, the 20-year-old from Fayetteville, North Carolina, has come a long way since last year, when he qualified 66th for the Suzuki World Championship Race and was relegated to the second-row starter. He has been through a whirlwind of the season, getting into the motorcycle world’s premier class and finishing just three days shy of the points total needed to win the title.
“It’s going to be huge,” Miller said of his Indy 500 debut. “I will be there as a fan. I’m looking forward to getting out there to watch my bike go fast. I would like to see the ‘Hot Rod 3’ hot rod show on the track while I’m there, too. Just getting to go around there like that is amazing, just for me personally. It’s been a big year for me. It’s almost like a surreal moment to think that I am going to Indy with that bike going around on its last lap.
“But I’m looking forward to the experience of racing on that race track again, getting to mix it up with the Indy 500 legends. It’s going to be really cool to go up there and try to shoot for the door and see what happens.”
Miller started the season in seventh and raced 10 races, as he rose in the standings to finish just five points behind the winner in the final Superbike season. Then he started the Moto2 World Championship campaign by not finishing any of his first four races, then finished in the top 10 in six races, eventually finishing second in the championship standings.
“It was a crazy year for me. It was one of those years where I was like, ‘Am I really this good at this?’ Then I got the win and then I was like, ‘Of course you are! And this is a journey,'” Miller said. “People don’t realize the hard work it takes to get this big. When you get it, you don’t expect that kind of return. I don’t think any of us expected to make this leap. I think we just stepped on the gas, and once we started doing that, we weren’t going to stop. It was just going to go a lot quicker.”
Some of the riders in this season’s premier class will be in Indianapolis, including three-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi, defending Indy 500 winner Marc Marquez and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Danica Patrick. However, Miller will be the only American in the Moto2 field.
Miller’s title win in July vaulted him into the Indy 500 field, and he becomes the third motorcycle racer to win the Moto2 title at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
In 1996, Austrian Dennis Peter got a victory on the speedway’s oval, then earned a factory-backed factory ride the next year when Indianapolis sold the rights to an IMSA road race, then decided to race himself to the title.
Italian young gun Marco Simoncelli won the Moto2 race in 2007 and was awarded the main Indy car entry the following year. He was teamed up with American Patrick before the 2012 season, but a recurring knee injury forced him to end his IndyCar career after the season finale.
Miller is not an Indy 500 rookie, having been highly touted as a future star before the sport. He made his Indianapolis debut last year in the factory-backed factory motorcycle class when he got his factory AC Agusta team’s No. 49 motorcycle to a 23rd-place finish and the top all-time finish in the factory category at the Indy 500.
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