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

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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.