MotoGP Misano: Angry Mir using ‘races like a preseason’

| | MotoGP
Picture: GeeBee Images

Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir stressed the importance of this week’s upcoming Misano tests after completing a frustrating Sam Marino GP in sixth place.

While the reigning World Champion throughly enjoyed the climax to Sunday’s 27-lap scrap around the Adriatic circuit, battling Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Ducati’s Jack Miller, the ultimate position was nothing to write home about. And with the title challenge now all but done, he’s utilising the Misano tests and final races of 2021 as an extended pre-season ahead of an all-out attack in 2022.

“I’m disappointed, I was expecting much more,” Mir admitted after Sunday’s race. “At the beginning, I was not able to overtake with the front, we took the wrong choice. It was like, try to survive. I was trying to survive in this race and it was much more different than what I expected - because I wanted to go to attack and somehow I was defending. Not good feelings but anyway, I will try to improve. We will try to improve the bike in the tests, that are important for us and then try to give the last races a good potential. Try to be where I want to be because, I am not in the position that I want.

“It’s not that we made any mistake we just couldn’t be as competitive as everybody expects, so that’s why I’m disappointed. I expected more. It is difficult to assume that the championship is over. The day that I will not be able to fight for a championship, I will retire, I will not wait even one year. So, I’m here for that reason and this time it was is like this, so difficult day for me.

“It was a bit tricky, of course, but normally with our bike we were not able to use the hard front,” he explained when discussing the medium Michelin tyre options. “And now, we are trying to change some way to give more to the front, and I’m the one that start to use the hard now, because I need something more. I cannot ride a bike with a medium. When we saw that the temperature was coming down. We didn’t try, we are a bit new with that tyre, we don’t have a lot of information and the team recommend to use the medium, because also Alex was feeling great with the medium all the weekend. He didn’t try the hard, means that for him was well but for me, no. For my style is different to the one of Alex and I ask much more to the front.”

With Mir now 67 points adrift of Fabio Quartararo - and 19 behind second-place-man, and double winner, Pecco Bagnaia - with 100 left in play, it’s a big ask for the Spaniard to defend his title. Does that change the way he attacks the final four races of 2021?

“No, the risk is always” Mir answered. I’m always risking what I have to risk, I always make manoeuvres. It doesn’t change at all.

“The only thing that makes a change is that if I have an opportunity to win, I can make some mistakes now. This is what changes. I can make some mistakes. So, this is also important for me. I will be able, if I need to do some manoeuvres, not on the riding, because don’t mean that when you risk more normally it’s because you try to go over your limits, and this normally is not the way to be fast nowadays. When you go fast, you go fast because you know how to go fast, you know where to put the wheel and everything. Of course, on the braking, you have to risk, but not more than normal because then you go wide. But in the manoeuvres, yeah, it will change something.

“During the weekend I was completely focused, not on the test and what we have ahead, because if you think that you can have something, then you can be thinking of that one, but no I was focused.

“I don’t know exactly what they bring,” he said of this week’s official test schedule. “I think that we have stuff to try, but I don’t know exactly what. We will have to, for sure, make some evolution to the device. There’s some trouble in some parts of the bike like the stopping area, that I think we have margin to improve on and the two days of testing I think are so important for us because in a lot of tests, Suzuki was not testing with Sylvan, so means that we need to test. So, let’s see what they bring and if we have luck and to find something to be more competitive.

“I’m a bit angry because I know my potential of this year,” he admitted when reflecting on his season so far. “I’m angry, because I’m riding better, I’m making less mistakes, I’m a better rider and I will not get the championship. So it’s something difficult to understand. But what also I have to say that is making me happy is that Suzuki, we go to the same direction, we all see what is happening and I believe that they are pushing as hard as they can. I believe.

“As a rider I always try to push more and more, because it’s like this but now I can’t complain about the work that they’re doing because I think that they are doing everything that they can to bring good stuff. So, I’m disappointed because if we started in a different way on the first race with another situation, now, I’m sure that we would be in a different situation. But this is a team, we learn from our mistakes and now I am sure that we are going, everyone on the same direction. So, this is what I make sure of, a couple of months ago, and now I know that they are working hard.

“We can think that the next races are like a preseason, every race an opportunity to give some information and to try to make some improvement on the bike that for sure I will need. I think that is the most clever way. Of course, if now I have the opportunity to win some races and to make some manoeuvre at the end of the race, I don’t care if I make a zero, so it change a little bit everything. But I have to have the opportunity to win that race, if not well honestly today I had fun.

“In the last lap, it looks like we were competing for something more than that fourth place! I have fun with Marc and with Jack - sorry for the block pass again to Jack. I think that he’s always angry. But, I think that was quite fair, everything.”