‘How he brakes, I’ve never seen anything like it…’ - Mir’s MotoGP crew chief Carchedi

| | MotoGP
Picture: Suzuki Racing

Joan Mir’s MotoGP crew chief Frankie Carchedi is scarily confident we haven’t seen the best of his rider - you know, the current world champion - and believes there is a lot more potential in the 23-year-old works Suzuki rider.

Mir’s consistency won him the 2020 crown with a race to spare and Carchedi, who began his racing career with GSE back in the day, is of the opinion that as a package, there is a lot more to come from Mir and the GSX-RR next season.

“He will learn more. We’ve had to win a championship by literally qualifying third row at best. I think generally we were fourth row, sometimes fifth. So, we have a lot more to do, especially in qualifying,” Carchedi told bikesportnews.com.

“It’s plain to see in the last few years that we haven’t qualified the best, but at the same time Iannone was on the bike two years ago and it was almost the opposite with him.

He was very, very quick over one lap, maybe struggled a little bit more over the race distance. So if anything, it’s quite exciting because we know there’s a lot more potential.

“One thing I’ve always said to him as a rider, we do a lot of data analysis and everything, and when we analyze it and we can see problem, it’s great because you can see it.

“It’s when you look at the computer and you can’t see a problem, that’s when it’s a problem. Because if he doesn’t know, we can’t see something, and something is not going right.

Even though Mir is the current MotoGP king, he has less than 100 GPs to his name. Only Iker Lecuona has participated in fewer. Track experience is another place for Mir to improve but there are other things, too.

He never even touched a foot peg, handlebar position or anything this year. It was literally us that said, we can move your body around a little bit and it can affect the motorcycle. We got to a point where he never even mentioned it.

“Once he had tried it, it was like we had just given him another toy and he was like, ‘Right, okay. Let us go back a bit, forward a bit.’ To be honest, it’s probably one of the areas that was worked a lot, not just by him, by Suzuki in general. Also where we were hoping to make a lot of improvements.

“Tyre management is one thing that we have given him as an extra, and it’s something that we worked the whole of last year. When I say the whole of last year, it was every session, every corner using previous data, Alex’s data.

We were quite hard on him. One of the things that we knew could make a difference, he had unbelievable natural raw speed. I would say his qualities that separate him from all the others are more like how he brakes, for instance. How he brakes, I’ve never seen anything like it.

“He seems to be able to brake later than anyone with less pressure. It’s an art, basically. It’s basically the combination of front and rear brake and how he stops the bike, and able to get onto the gas. His real natural talent is how he can brake.

“It’s a little bit unfair of me to say that we’ve brought all the tyre management, because what he can do is when he wants to manage tires, he can effectively brake later and harder, which means you don’t have to be as aggressive on the exit because you’ve made the time up in the braking area.

“We’ve taught him a little bit on tire management on the exit, but also he’s brought a big part of it because he can basically sacrifice a little bit of exit time by gaining on the entry.

“Basically what he tries to do is he’ll sacrifice in the corners that are really aggressive on the tyres, but he’ll make it up on the brakes. So he’ll probably use more of the front yire than the rear tyre.

Teams always say they operate together but a lot of the time, they are two separate sides of one garage. Carchedi takes great pains to point out this is not how it’s done at Suzuki. Mir and Alex Rins have brought each other on over the course of the year.

We always talk of it as a team, we win together, we lose together. When he crashes, we crash. When he wins, we win. We’re very much like that. We always have been.

“I think that’s how we are at Suzuki in general, also our team as a unit, very multi-national but very close, from the rider to us. So we’re very honest and very open, and I think as a whole package we have a lot more to come.

“We get on pretty well. The Suzuki way is we have the majority of our meetings all together, whether it’s the engineers. I think if anything, the relationship has blossomed, improved throughout the year.

“I think because there’s only two riders, they both understand the importance of having the other rider going fast as well because you’ve got more data, more information.

“You can understand more. Sometimes we come to race weekends and because of the weather conditions, you’re not like all the other manufacturers where you can send one rider a soft, one a hard, get data on race distance and everything.

“If anything, Portimao showed a little bit of that with us. Michelin brought four fronts, four rears. What basically happened we weren’t able to try every single one because of the time available and everything. You are at a slight disadvantage.

“So anyway, I think the riders also understood the importance of the other one going faster because it in turn can help the other one improve, whether it’s with the rider’s speed or with the setting of the bike. It goes hand in hand.”

Picture: GeeBee Images
Picture: GeeBee Images