The Curious Case of Jack Miller: Marc VDS Racing Issues a Press Release Clarifying Contract Situation

07/07/2014 @ 12:04 pm, by David Emmett26 COMMENTS

The Curious Case of Jack Miller: Marc VDS Racing Issues a Press Release Clarifying Contract Situation Saturday Dutch TT 2014 MotoGP Tony Goldsmith 15 635x422

Jack Miller is a rider in demand. The current leader in the Moto3 World Championship has been linked to several top teams, and has been openly flirting with a step up to MotoGP, skipping Moto2 altogether.

The fly in the ointment for Miller is the pre-contract he signed with the Marc VDS Racing team in 2013, securing his services for 2014, 2015 and 2016. Under the terms of the contract, Miller was released to ride for the Red Bull KTM Ajo team in Moto3, as Miller was keen to have a shot at the Moto3 title before moving up a class.

That situation appears to have caused some confusion. Jack Miller told the media as recently as Assen that he has no contract to ride for 2015, and is free to race wherever he wants. That is a position which was earlier laid out in a press release from the Red Bull KTM Ajo team, in which Miller made the same statement.

Marc VDS Racing and their team manager Michael Bartholémy insist that this is not the case, and the situation has gotten so far out of hand that the Marc VDS team has issued a press release of their own, clarifying the deal which they have with the Australian.

The press release sets out Marc VDS Racing’s perspective on the deal. A binding, three-year deal was agreed between Miller and Marc VDS, laid down in the form of a pre-agreement.

The full details were to be fixed in a final contract, which was agreed in full with Miller and his parents. but Marc VDS claim that Miller and his management team – Red Bull KTM Ajo team manager Aki Ajo – have failed to sign the final document.

According to the Marc VDS team, this is not a problem, as the pre-agreement already signed by Miller and his family means that they are bound by contract to ride for the team.

The situation will have to be resolved quickly, one way or another, as both Miller and Marc VDS will want some clarity about the future. It would be unwise for Marc VDS to force Miller to race for them if he does not want to, but Marc VDS is also unable to negotiate contracts with other riders until the situation with Miller is resolved.

If the situation is as Marc VDS claims, then Miller will either have to race for the team, or buy his way out of the contract. The press release from Marc VDS is shown below:

Marc VDS confirm binding contract with Jack Miller

Gosselies, Belgium – 4 July 2014: While the Marc VDS Racing Team would prefer to keep confidential their negotiations and agreements with riders, circumstances dictate that the team clarify their position with regards to Jack Miller.

Jack Miller recently stated on the official Ajo Motorsport website that he has no contract for the future. This statement is inaccurate. Jack Miller signed a binding three-year contract with the Marc VDS Racing Team for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 seasons.

Under the terms of this six-page contract, the Marc VDS Racing Team negotiated on Jack Miller’s behalf to secure him a Moto3 World Championship ride with the Red Bull KTM Ajo Team in 2014.

During the course of these negotiations Ajo Motorsport team owner, Aki Ajo, was made aware of the contract between Jack Miller and the Marc VDS Racing Team and also that, under the terms of this contract, Jack Miller would contest the Moto2 World Championship for the Marc VDS Racing Team in 2015 and 2016.

The three-year contract was in the form of an extensive pre-agreement, covering the relevant key points such as exclusivity, payment conditions and technical support. Nowhere was there a clause related to early release from the contract should Jack Miller receive an offer for MotoGP in 2015. Following the signing of this pre-agreement a final contract was negotiated and agreed between the parties, with the key elements remaining unchanged.

This final agreement was not signed and all requests by the Marc VDS Racing Team for a meeting with Jack Miller, his parents and his management team, to clarify the situation with regard to Jack Miller’s contractual obligations for 2015 and 2016, have gone unanswered.

In the absence of a signed final agreement, the signed pre-agreement remains extant and binding on both parties.

“It is regrettable that we’ve had to make public this situation, but we really were left with no option,” stated Michael Bartholemy, Team Principal of the Marc VDS Racing Team. “We have a contract with Jack Miller and we are already preparing for his arrival in the team for the 2015 season because, for us, a deal is a deal. If Jack has changed his mind and doesn’t want to ride for us next year then he or his management team need to come and talk to us, rather than simply ignoring our numerous requests for a meeting to clarify the situation. We are not interested in playing games; we just want the situation sorted out expeditiously. Until it is resolved we cannot move forward with our own plans for the 2015 season, as we have no intention on reneging on the agreement by offering Jack Miller’s place in the Marc VDS Racing Team to another rider.”

Finally, the Marc VDS Racing Team would like to wish Jack Miller the best of luck with his 2014 Moto3 World Championship campaign.

Photo: © 2014 Tony Goldsmith / TGF Photos – All Rights Reserved

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

Comment:

  1. Bill says:

    So in other words we got nothing. I would say if it went to arbitration Marc VDS would not win this. It’s a bit like a high school athlete signing a letter of commitment. In no way binding. Not good business if there was a true agreement. Surely does not make me a fan of Jack Miller. Loyalty is a big deal. If you give your word it should mean something.

  2. Jw says:

    Marc VDS Racing in my opinion should not have done this. If Miller breaches contract, then let the letters fly. So far he is only ignoring people. This to me is throwing Jack in front of the bus and will stir bad blood.

  3. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    I disagree with ya Bill. Loyalty should mean something if you work in the mill or if you sell insurance in town. This that Jack Miller does for a living as a young man is a whole different ball of wax for a whole lot of reasons.

    If the kid can make the jump to motoGP should he? Of course he should! no brainer.

    Any contract done can be undone.

  4. CLB says:

    The typical, unknown signs a good contract working him through 2016 and now that he is know and doing well wants options. It’s understood, but do it the right way… simply man up and do it the right way.
    It will haunt you some way, some time.

    Now, maybe Jack is right, so again, I am not saying he is wrong, but based off what we were told above and such… he has at least AGREED to something!

    Best of luck Jack… but don’t let a small points lead in Moto3 get to your head; you’re a better talent than that!

  5. L2C says:

    @ Bill

    You really should stick with what you know. The type of pre-agreement contract that Marc VDS has with Jack Miller contains specific terms – “key elements” – which are legally binding. Those key elements are also contained in the final agreement contract which contains additional elements that are not in the pre-agreement contract, but which were agreed to verbally by Jack Miller, Miller’s management team, and Miller’s parents together with Marc VDS.

    Jack Miller is most certainly legally bound to the key elements of the pre-agreement, especially since that contract has been signed Jack Miller other participating parties. In other words, the pre-agreement is legally binding on its own and is not dependent on the terms or existence of the final agreement which has not yet been signed.

    And it should be noted that verbal agreements are also legally binding. Marc VDS has clearly made the claim that the final agreement was drawn with the cooperation and participation of Miller, Miller’s management team, and Miller’s parents. The document of the final agreement itself is good evidence of that claim.

    It hasn’t been mentioned in the press release, but Marc VDS is probably in possession of notes that were taken of Miller and his people during discussions and the negotiation process. Notes that also serve as evidence to the claim of a verbal agreement with Miller and his people. Miller’s people probably have notes of their own documenting those same meetings.

    Marc VDS is in an excellent legal position on this matter, Bill. Red Bull KTM Ajo Team, on the other hand, are in a much more tenuous position since they clearly do not have anything other than their present agreement with Miller that covers the current 2014 season.

    Full disclosure: I’m not a lawyer, but I know a good argument when I hear one. Right now, Aki Ajo’s team may have a hold on Jack Miller, and Ajo’s team are attempting to exploit that relationship for all it is worth, but Marc VDS holds all of the cards to Miller’s future.

    The fact that Marc VDS has issued a press release explaining the matter really demonstrates how serious this matter is. Miller’s people need to act soon, or things will get truly ugly, on the legal front.

  6. L2C says:

    “Jack Miller is most certainly legally bound to the key elements of the pre-agreement, especially since that contract has been signed Jack Miller other participating parties.”

    Should have been: “Jack Miller is most certainly legally bound to the key elements of the pre-agreement, especially since that contract has been signed by Jack Miller other participating parties.

  7. L2C says:

    “Marc VDS Racing in my opinion should not have done this. If Miller breaches contract, then let the letters fly. So far he is only ignoring people. This to me is throwing Jack in front of the bus and will stir bad blood.”

    Hey Jw, Jack Miller and his people are not in a good position to ignore Marc VDS. Clearly they have been, but they are exacerbating an important and expensive situation that is not going to go away just because they are hoping that it will.. They have to address it properly. Continuing to ignore will only lead to bad things.

    Marc VDS’ press release has the function of an open letter to Miller and company. (More evidence that Marc VDS has been attempting to open/continue communication with Miller and company.) They need to listen because that fact that they have been ignoring Marc VDS’ requests for a meeting is the reason that Marc VDS felt the press release necessary. Marc VDS does have a sterling reputation to uphold, after all.

    Miller and his people are the ones responsible for throwing Jack under a bus, not Marc VDS.

    My opinion is that there are too many people in Jack Miller’s kitchen. Too many want a piece of him. I don’t know what effect that Aki Ajo has had on these recent developments, but Marc VDS were the ones who negotiated Miller’s ride with Ajo’s team. That is fact. But now that Miller is at the sharp end of things in Moto3, something fundamental in the nature of those relationships have changed. Clearly. And it doesn’t seem to have been for the best because communication has broken down.

  8. n/a says:

    Why would he skip Moto2 and go straight to MotoGP? …….He’s no bowl of Special K.

  9. Jw says:

    But does anyone see JM actually breaching his contract, yet? Yes there are some issues here, but..

  10. L2C says:

    @ Jw

    The subtle fact I’ve noticed in this, is that Aki Ajo’s team is also Red Bull. Red Bull are also strongly tied to Repsol Honda in MotoGP. Now — I don’t know why Jack Miller would refuse a ride with Marc VDS in Moto2, since it pretty much is one of the two best teams in Moto2. The other being Pons Racing. Soooooooo…

    Anyway, Shuhei Nakamoto has denied having any real interest in Jack Miller for 2015-2016, as they feel he is not yet ready. “Too soon…” was his words. But, again, there is the notable relationship that Honda Repsol has with Red Bull.

    What does this mean? Nada. Not a damn thing, as far as I know. Yet there it is. There it is along with the rumor of Miller going straight to MotoGP from Moto3.

    Miller replacing Dani Pedrosa? That makes me laugh a bit, but this entire scenario is all very unusual, for sure.

  11. L2C says:

    @ Jw

    Maybe Casey Stoner is the puppet master behind HRC’s iron curtain? LOL…

  12. Jw says:

    L2C

    Thanks for the good information

  13. crshnbrn says:

    Mr. Miller hasn’t even won the Moto3 Championship yet, and he thinks he can skip right to the MotoGP class? What team in their right mind would risk their MotoGP bikes on a rider who hasn’t proven their potential in Moto2, let alone a rider with a reputation for not fulfilling contractual obligations? It certainly won’t be a team with a bike capable of winning the MotoGP Championship.
    Better to win a Moto2 Championship or two riding for Marc VDS than riding a grid filler in MotoGP.

    Most people learn to crawl before they walk, and walk before they run.

    Don’t be an Ass Jack!

  14. paulus says:

    JM’s group need to show some class.
    A pre-agreement is there to protect against EXACTLY the type of behavior being demonstrated.
    I hope Marc VDS Racing get whichever outcome that they desire.

  15. Damn says:

    The only thing jm does is let other factory’s notice he walks if he wants, contract or not! But hey JM…. your the 2013 moto3 champ already, what am i saying a double moto3 champ. Oh? not?!!! so that means he stil has alot to learn. no title yet but acts like he’s the GOAT!!!

    how beautiful would that be….. no contract no ride no title no jm. thats some i like to see!!!

  16. “My opinion is that there are too many people in Jack Miller’s kitchen. “

    Nail? Meet hammer. I think the above hits the nail right on the head. It would appear that Miller is getting some bad advice by his management. Make of the contracts what you will, one thing you cannot do about legal claims is simply ignore them.

    “What team in their right mind would risk their MotoGP bikes on a rider who hasn’t proven their potential in Moto2, let alone a rider with a reputation for not fulfilling contractual obligations?”

    Garry McCoy made the jump straight from 125s to 500s back in the day, so such a move isn’t unheard of. Your second point, however, is eminently valid. Miller would be very, very wise not to burn bridges that haven’t even been built yet.

  17. Westward says:

    Jack Millers, jump to Motogp could be a legal loop hole out of the Mark VDS pre-aggreement, as it locks him into riding for them in Moto2. Besides, for the evolution of his skills in racing, he would be better off going to Moto2 before MotoGP…

    Mark VDS is an excellent organization, the only reason to balk at this, is if an actual factory team is working its magic in the shadows.

    I hope its not an Aussie thing, cause it reminds me a bit of Stoner. I remember Stoner stating in front of cameras, that he would not race in Motegi after the disaster in Fukashima. But then he did after all the posturing, albeit without his ever present wife in the paddock…

  18. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    Ahh yes, the magic unbreakable contract that L2C ginned up while vacationing in the Marc VDS hospitality tent.

    Jack Miller didn’t have a pen so a ranking member in the Marc VDS pit crew poked Miller’s finger and he signed the magical contract in blood. Shortly thereafter, Satan was brought to the table and Miller was made to offer up his soul to prevent breach of the magical contract into perpetuity.

    A deal’s a deal.

  19. L2C says:

    @ Chaz Michael Michaels

    “Sometimes a dummy should just sit there and be a dummy, and not say anything to reveal that he is in fact a dummy, dummy.” –Fred G. Sanford

  20. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    haha. You’re a good sport L2C. Tell me you at least got a chuckle out of what I wrote.

    Anyone who drops a Fred G. Sanford quote is a friend of mine…you ole fish-eyed fool!

    I’m loving the racing in Moto3. The future looks bright for moto2 (which is where Miller will end up with or without Marc VDS). Athletes weasel out of contracts all the time. If it makes more financial sense to wiggle free of Marc VDS he will. Everyone will get paid and the show will go on.

    It seems like these days I’m paying as much (if not more) attention to moto3 than motoGP

  21. L2C says:

    @ Chaz Michael Michaels

    ;-)

  22. “I remember Stoner stating in front of cameras, that he would not race in Motegi after the disaster in Fukashima. But then he did after all the posturing, albeit without his ever present wife in the paddock…”

    Haters hate. Fukushima was a game changer and Stoner was not alone in claiming that racing there wasn’t going to happen. And for good reason, too, lest your mind is engaging in creative revisionist history for the sake of dissing Stoner. Only after the many thousands of aftershocks cooled and the relative stabilization of the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant could racing at Motegi be considered safe by anybody.

    This isn’t the first time you’ve claimed posturing with regard to Fukushima. As one who actually lives in Japan, I consider your comments woefully off the mark. All it would take would be one sizable temblor and an unwanted pop from the nuclear plant and a significant portion of the main island would be uninhabitable, including Tokyo. It’s still very much a possibility during the estimated 40-year cleanup of Fukushima that things could go very, very wrong indeed.

  23. crshnbrn says:

    @ Trane Francks, re: “Miller would be very, very wise not to burn bridges that haven’t even been built yet.”

    With Marc VDS Racing recently reported to be considering a step up to the MotoGP class, those bridges that haven’t been built yet, might just take Mr. Miller where he wants to go. This whole situation makes no sense.

    Dammit L2C and Chaz Michael Michaels! I keep hearing “The Streetbeater” in my head.

  24. “With Marc VDS Racing recently reported to be considering a step up to the MotoGP class, those bridges that haven’t been built yet, might just take Mr. Miller where he wants to go. This whole situation makes no sense.”

    Boy, you sure got that right. I can understand trying to wiggle out of a pre-contract agreement, but the whole “I’m just going to pretend I don’t hear you” thing is just crazy. As you said, Jack may very well have an idea to jump straight to the premier class; Marc VDS is making all sorts of noises about moving up there from Moto2.

    When one considers just how class an act Marc VDS has proven itself to be over the years, one has to wonder the wisdom of Miller’s management. It really IS a silly season. :)

  25. TexusTim says:

    Miller is going to end up like Crutchlow…never got the ride he should have…prolly cuz he acted like a child about riders moving up,not being given factory parts,not getting factory ride…maybe miller will end up at ductati…rossi wised up quick too bad nicky didnt…look at pedrosa he stays above the fray and gets resigned even with all the young guns comming up…something to be said about paitence and maturity….miller is still laking both.

  26. TexusTim says:

    P.S. like my grandfather used to say..”dance with the one that brung ya” this kid hasnt won the title yet and wants to sidestep the team that got him there mid season and sends rumors about motogp…wonder what his crew is thinking right now?