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Mir wanted to ‘destroy everything’ amid fraught MotoGP opener

by Simon Patterson
6 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Reigning MotoGP world champion Joan Mir was so angry at Suzuki’s performance in Qatar Grand Prix qualifying that he wanted to “destroy everything”.

And then having got up to second in the race, he was absolutely blitzed by two Ducatis in the final metres.

Yet overall, he’s coming away from his first weekend as defended champion.

Mir fell from fourth to second in sight of the line, thanks to the raw power of his Ducati rivals.

“I said to myself ‘if I finish second it will be great but I know I have two angry Ducatis behind me and it’ll be hard’” :: Joan Mir

The reigning champion had looked set for a poor start to his title defence at Losail qualifying a distant 10th, but he made a traditional Suzuki charge through the field from the fourth row to insert himself into the battle for the podium by the end of the race.

On a weekend he admitted was anything but easy, the solid result leaves Mir much more upbeat going into next weekend’s second race at the same circuit.

“It was a positive race for me,” he said. “I got the feeling back a bit late, but finally we got it, and that’s the most important thing, to try and make the race from less, and at the end to push hard.

“I know here that the tyre drops at the end, that it’s quite big, and I tried to manage that as much as I could. It was positive overall, I’m happy and now we have another chance.

“The fourth place is not a result that I expected, and I showed on the last lap that I didn’t want it – I wanted the best result possible because the more points I can collect now the better.

“But I’m so happy with the feeling, I was again riding in a good way, stopping the bike and turning in a good way. Not like all the rest of the weekend.”

He didn’t quite get the golden ending to the weekend that he expected, despite setting up the last sector the best he could only to get blown away by both Johann Zarco and Pecco Bagnaia on the start-finish straight and demoted to fourth.

It was due to a combination of factors: Mir ran wide on the last corner on a slightly more defensive line – well aware of what Andrea Dovizioso was able to do to Marc Marquez there in both 2018 and 2019 – and then got blitzed on the straight by the Ducatis’ power too.

Though Mir was able to keep up with the Ducatis as both the high wind and fuel consumption affected their rapid top speed, it’s likely that both Zarco and Bagnaia were able to activate a different fuelling map for the last lap to burn up whatever gas remained in the tank, giving them a welcome speed boost and leaving Mir feeling rueful about his result.

Mar 29 : Did Ducati throw away the MotoGP season opener?

“In a normal situation, the ideal thing was to try and not overtake Zarco, to try and slipstream him on the straight, and try to defend third position,” he explained.

“But it’s the first race of the season and we have to take a bit of risk, so I overtook Zarco in the last sector and said to myself ‘if I finish second it will be great but I know I have two angry Ducatis behind me and it’ll be hard’.


“I saw the finish line really close to me then both rockets overtook me!

“It was a bit frustrating but I gave my 100%, and next time I know what I have to do.

“It’s true that I went a bit wide, but normally if you go wide you can get more speed at the end, because you come back with more speed. It wasn’t enough!

“I was a little surprised because I expected one Ducati, not two!

“But Pecco was always there, and they are unbelievably fast on the straight.

“Both riders rode in a really good way, and here their bike is an animal.

“They did an unbelievable job to manage the power though, so it’s not just the bike.”

“You could see it on my face every session – I’m not really good at hiding these kinds of things” :: Joan Mir

Suzuki had a difficult weekend up to that point, never really finding its momentum during five days of testing at Losail and going into Saturday’s qualifying session still far from comfortable with the bike. Mir had to, again, come through Q1.

But as Suzuki stuck steadfastly to its strategy of working solely for the race and not concentrating on qualifying set-up – especially in second free practice when rivals were throwing tyres at their bikes to ensure a time good enough to ensure automatic progression to Q2 – Mir’s lack of one-lap speed hid some of the weekend’s potential.

Not everything was down to a lack of single lap pace either, with Mir admitting that he was left frustrated after qualifying with the absence of something from his GSX-RR – something that he and his team were subsequently able to find again for the race.


“The race shows how important qualifying is, but it also shows how comfortable I am starting the race on the fourth row!” he joked afterwards.

“It was a difficult weekend, because I wasn’t able to have a great weekend.

“You could see it on my face every session – I’m not really good at hiding these kinds of things.

“You have to control yourself a lot because that’s what my parents taught me about difficult moments. After qualifying, I would have liked to have destroyed everything” :: Joan Mir

“In the end we found the way, though. It was a bit late but we found the way.

“During the test sometimes you try a lot of things and sometimes maybe you get a bit lost.

“For some reason, I wasn’t able to stop the bike, and I had a lot of problems yesterday in qualifying.

“I was pushing like an animal, but the lap time was impossible, it never came. It was so frustrating and I was so angry.

“We found some settings [on Saturday night] that we used last year. All the problems that we were having made sense with the specs we’ve been having, and we changed something that I can’t say, and everything came back.”


The normally supremely calm and collected 23-year-old Mallorcan admitted that he was at times in the weekend left fuming over his situation – but it may well be a mark of Mir’s maturity as champion that he kept himself under control for the race.

“Normally it’s part of my character – when everything is right I’m really relaxed, but when something isn’t working I am not able to relax,” he explained.

“We weren’t able to find the right things, then I try harder and harder and I get so angry.

“Sometimes, you have to control yourself a lot because that’s what my parents taught me about difficult moments.

“After qualifying, I would have liked to have destroyed everything, but I know that’s not the correct thing to do because all the people, everyone in the garage, wants to make everything better.

“They want to make everything work for you. They are not guilty. So it’s important to control yourself in these moments.”

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