Joan Mir is new to MotoGP and Team Suzuki Ecstar this year, and when we caught up with him at Circuit of The Americas he’d notched an eighth-place finish in Qatar and a DNF in Argentina. He’s a Moto3 world champion, with one season of Moto2 under his belt as well. Dawdling in the lower classes was never Mir’s plan as he has long had his sights on the premier class.
“When I won the championship in Moto3, that year (2017) I said to my people that I don’t want to be a Moto2 rider,” Mir said. “I want to be a MotoGP rider and I want to go there. In the first part of the season if I am competitive and a good contract comes with a good bike, I will go up to MotoGP. This happened. First race was really good. Everything, podiums, fighting for victories. Some contracts came at that time and I decided.”
It was a positive move, too, since the Moto2 bike felt to Mir like more of a streetbike than a racebike, even when compared to the Moto3 machines.
“Last year the Honda engine, it looked like a streetbike not a racing bike. The Moto3 is a racing bike. In the MotoGP again is a racing bike. It’s a lot better to my riding style and everything. I enjoy it. I enjoy a lot more riding the MotoGP to riding Moto2. A lot more. You can see data. When you enjoy, you go fast and everything is coming easy.”
A similar comparison can be made when you get down to finer details as well, such as the gearbox.
“It looks like an automatic bike. It’s really nice. I compared a lot with the Moto3 because it’s really similar. The Moto3 also was really smooth and everything. Then the Moto2 was a straight streetbike and again difficult, but this one is really good.
“I remember my first time that I rode the MotoGP. I tried without the anti-wheelie, and I don’t know what happened with the front wheel but I didn’t touch the ground in all the straights. It was a good memory. I will never forget the first time.”
Plus, Mir has the potential to really shine on the GSX-RR, or any top-tier racebike for that matter, because he’s completely comfortable pushing a bike to its limits.
“I like the movement. I like to rodeo on the bike. It’s my style. I like it. This is the more difficult part, that the team has to understand your riding style and what you need to go fast. This is the most difficult thing for a rookie and for a not experienced rider, that the team has to know your riding style, what you need. You need more electronics, less electronics, the power in that way, the first part of the power in that way. It’s really difficult. This is the most difficult thing.”
That also makes providing development input difficult, though there are some definite strengths to the GSX-RR in Mir’s estimation.
“The strongest point is the handling. The turning is the best point because at the end the Ducati and the Honda have a really good engine, and the engine we are a bit behind, but the chassis is quite good. We are working on it. The Suzuki is a really competitive bike. It’s nice to grow with them also because I’m also a rookie and I need to learn from the category and also improve one bike, so it’s really difficult.”
Even so, Mir knows his strengths and is diving in to help the engineers and team as best he can.
“Normally talking about the riding style and everything, I’m good on the brakes. The brakes I’m really good. I think that I give good information to the engineers. They may know the areas. This is important also. It accelerates a lot the learning process.”
He’s also working hard to bring his body up to shape to be as competitive as possible on the new machine, cross-training in other motorcycle disciplines and hitting the gym.
“Since I was a kid, I train in all the motorbikes because I like a lot the motocross. The deer track, the trials bike. Also I touch a little bit the trials bike. I’m thinking that everything gives you a little bit some skill to take to MotoGP.
“We work a lot of areas. Running and everything. Also with the MotoGP you work a little bit more in the gym than Moto3. This is something that you don’t get in one year or half a year. It’s impossible. Also I am growing. It’s difficult all this, but on the bike I’m strong.”