Mir’s path to the 2020 MotoGP World Championship win|
Joan Mir Mayrata (Palma de Mallorca, 1997) has not had the archetypal career path into MotoGP. In fact, his beginnings in motorcycling came much later than that of his rivals in the road racing championships. His first motorcycle was a Polini when he was 6 years old, until he received a small Honda QR as a gift one year later.
But unusually, his family didn’t have an excessive fervor for bikes - everyone around him was more into off-road riding than on track, and most were enthusiastic about other sports. His father Joan, in fact, owns a skating shop in Mallorca, so little Joan grew up surrounded by skateboard decks.
When The Passion Was Born:
It was not until he saw his cousin Joan Perelló, who was in the Stop & Go team in the World Championship, that he became fascinated with speed. An admirer of his countryman Rafael Nadal, Joan admitted in an interview that “like Rossi, I do not look up to anyone”. And yet, paradoxically, his first experience of racing at the track arrived at Chicho Lorenzo’s school, where he remained for a year.
From there he moved to the Balearic Motorcycling Federation’s school in 2009. There someone discovered that Joan had more to offer than just his enthusiastic smile. It’s also where he met Daniel Vadillo, who advises him and has accompanied him to each race since then. “We saw that he had something different,” recalls Dani.
The Early Years:
He then started the adventure of the Bankia Cup in the XL 160 category, in 2011. The Mallorcan won the crown with two races left before the championship came to a permanent close. Then came the MotoGP PreGP 125 Cup, the next step in the arduous climb to the World Championship, and Joan did not hold back, securing another title.
In 2012, Joan headed to the Red Bull Rookies Cup where he completed two seasons: 2013-2014. During the first year of adaptation, the Balearic rider finished 9th in the general standings while in the second year he finished runner-up after a very close battle with Spaniard Jorge Martín.
2015 – Up to the World Championship:
A somewhat turbulent 2015 arrived, in which some challenging circumstances arose. Joan, already prepared to start his career in the FIM CEV Championship, was left out because the Leopard Racing team cancelled the project at the last moment. Joan and his entourage got in touch with rider manager Paco Sánchez, and he helped the youngster to complete the CEV championship with a Ioda bike in the Team Machado but finally supported by Leopard Racing team.
Then, just as the season was reaching its end and Joan was on vacation, he received a call from Leopard Racing team again, they wanted him to replace Japan’s Hiroki Ono, injured, at the Australian Grand Prix. A wild card appearance that was worth its weight in gold.
After a low key debut Joan, who was 15th on the grid at Phillip Island, got a rocket start and placed himself in the lead group, but crashed out whilst in 4th. He had nevertheless left his mark. Leopard recognised his achievement and recruited him for the 2016 season.
2016 – 2017 – The Blossoming of a Champion:
And so it was that the World Championship officially welcomed Joan Mir in 2016. And he quickly proved his worth; in Austria Joan surprised everyone with a superb race that gave him his first victory and his debut podium in the category.
He finished the championship in fifth position, as Rookie of the Year, after getting three podiums, one pole, and two fastest laps. It turned out to be the perfect warm up for the 2017 season - 10 wins, 13 podiums, and a dominant title campaign. His strength and talent were clear and the Mallorcan won the Moto3 crown. An ideal way to graduate to Moto2…
2018 – Rookie of the Year:
He entered Moto2 with Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS. Adapting quickly, Joan seemed competitive from the beginning and onlookers sensed a podium was coming. He did indeed secure his first Moto2 podium in France, and soon after in Italy.
However, his promising start fizzled out a little for various reasons. All in all, Joan finished the season in 6th position and was awarded as Rookie of the Year just one day before testing in Valencia - his first experience riding the GSX-RR with the Team SUZUKI ECSTAR.
2019 – Up With The Big Boys:
Joan’s debut season in MotoGP in 2019 saw him adapting quickly to the Suzuki way of working, and he said his introduction to the team was like “finding a second family”. At his first race, in Qatar, he achieved a great 8th place. He went on to score a further nine Top 10 finishes, despite a debilitating mid-season injury which saw him miss two rounds.
Joan returned to secure his best result, an impressive 5th place, in Thailand, he then backed this up with two further 5th place finishes in the last two races of the season in Malaysia and Spain. He completed his rookie season 12th in the Championship standings.
With his focus on adjusting his riding style to better suit the GSX-RR’s own strengths, the youngster is ambitious and aiming high for the 2020 season.
2020 – ‘I made history with Suzuki’:
The year that he well and truly found his place among the MotoGP Top Riders came at a very difficult time when the world and the paddock was hit by the sad circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic. With a reduced number of races, consistency and focus was more important than ever, and Joan truly managed to be the most consistent rider in the pack, with 7 podiums in 14 races, giving him the much coveted title of MotoGP champ.
It is the crowning of a dream for Joan, and also for Team Suzuki Ecstar and Suzuki as a whole. In addition, this happens in the year that the Suzuki company celebrates its 100th Anniversary, and the 60th Anniversary of Suzuki competing in racing. A full circle that has been closed and completed.