until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Mir just had his Marquez 2023 moment - but he's going nowhere

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

A year on from Marc Marquez's spectacularly rotten German Grand Prix weekend set in motion the chain of events that eventually led to his exit from Honda, its new lead MotoGP rider evoked a strong sense of deja vu.

Marquez crashed a scarcely-believable five times during last year's Sachsenring round, eventually withdrawing ahead of the race - but it was the sight of him saving a moment on Friday and then 'flipping the bird' in his Honda RC213V's general direction that stood as perhaps the best visual representation of his weekend.

Now, back at the Sachsenring in the following season, a Friday crash for Joan Mir triggered a likewise-broadcast moment of rage in the gravel trap towards the new but not-much-improved RC213V.

Mir is, of course, not the kind of talismanic rider Marquez had been for Honda, but has a strong claim to being its standout rider right now. While Johann Zarco has been the Honda camp's best qualifier, Mir has been its most effective operator in races - which is why he's the top Honda rider in the standings, despite his frequent crashing.

He is also on the verge of signing a contract extension with the brand - but on Friday he struggled to hide his irritation.

"The thing that pissed me off a lot is... I'm struggling there, I say this to the engineers and everything. We are losing 1-1.5s per lap in terms of pace, and then you crash. How is that possible?" he vented when asked by The Race about his reaction after the fall.

"And one crash, and another one. I crashed there [at Turn 1] but I had a lot of movements [of the tyre] today and a lot of [other] moments that I could end up [crashing] into the ground.

"I was very angry. I'm still very angry with the situation. But let's see if tomorrow they can give me a package that I'm able to enjoy a bit."

Mir, the slowest in Friday's second session at 2.225s off in the end, admitted he had effectively thrown in the towel on the hour-long practice after the crash.

This was because his other bike had a different set-up - one he and the team had hoped would suit the Sachsenring but was quickly found lacking. It was, he said, "unrideable" - and thus he didn't believe a time attack run on it would be worth the risk.

Joar Mir crash

"Like this is how we'll make progress, not doing stupid things."

When asked about the Honda's turning problems, he said: "And Turn 1 is a turn that you brake for! So imagine the turns that you don't brake.

"And here you have all the turns, more or less all the turns- there's 1, 3 and 12, but all the rest is closing the throttle and carrying speed. [But] you can't carry the speed. [So] what the hell do you want to do? You can't do anything."

For all of Mir's newfound status as something close to Honda's standard-bearer, he has not been a happy figure in most post-race debriefs this year, struggling to finish races and to balance the risk/reward of a bike that is simply not competitive right now.

Joan Mir Honda

But he made it clear, when asked by The Race, that his Friday angst didn't mean anything had changed in his thinking for 2025.

"No. One day doesn't change the mentality.

"But we will work for tomorrow and we will try to be in the position that we were in the first part of the season, in all the races. Just today, I don't know what happened, honestly."

In truth, it is difficult to believe that Mir - with some time to reflect - will perceive this Friday as all that much worse than some of the other dour days he's already had in 2024.

But the difference is also that unlike Marquez - despite being a free agent when Marquez wasn't - he is not in a position to dictate his future.

Yet also, whereas Marquez has had his good days - countless good days - on the Honda, the payoff for Mir's struggles is yet to come. He surely would not be on the verge of putting pen to paper on another deal if he didn't believe they will come, even if days like this Friday must test the faith something fierce.

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