January 11, 2023

Mir “didn’t expect” MotoGP rivals to make the gains they have in 2021

Mir has been critical of the lack of progress Suzuki has made with its 2021 challenger compared to the bike he won the championship on last year, noting after the Dutch TT last month that his current package was “not enough” to defend his title with.

PRIME: Why Mir’s MotoGP title defence can’t be written off yet

Scoring just three podiums from the first nine races – all of them third-places – Mir is 55 points adrift of championship leader Fabio Quartararo going into the second half of the season.

Development on engines for all but Aprilia (because it is a concession team) and KTM (which lost its concessions under a COVID-forced development freeze in 2020) was frozen over the winter, meaning Suzuki hasn’t been able to radically overhaul its GSX-RR for 2021.

But Mir doesn’t believe the development freeze has anything to do with Suzuki’s current slump and thinks the marque has been caught out by the progress the likes of Yamaha, Ducati and Aprilia has made over the winter.

“Well, I think the frozen evolution doesn’t help us but it doesn’t make it worse because it’s true that if the evolution wasn’t froze, we could improve the engine,” he said in an exclusive interview with Autosport.

“But the others could improve it [too].

“So, I think that it’s more that they [Suzuki] didn’t find a big step to make the bike better this winter.

“I think this is the real problem. Normally, the philosophy of Suzuki is a philosophy I share, because they normally don’t bring new bikes.

“In the pre-season tests, you see Honda, Yamaha, Ducati, also Aprilia, KTM with different bikes.

“And Suzuki normally never brings a new bike.

“They bring a new chassis, a new swingarm, engine, step-by-step and progressively try to make a step on the bike.

“So, normally this works but you have to bring some things.

“Also, I have to say I didn’t expect such a big improvement from the other manufacturers.

“I didn’t expect it. Probably Suzuki also. This makes it probably a bit more difficult.”

Joan Mir, Team Suzuki MotoGP

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Mir also batted away suggestions team manager Davide Brivio’s exit pre-season has contributed to Suzuki’s tough season.

The world champion is pinning his title hopes on the introduction of the rear ride height adjuster – which the Suzuki is the only bike not to have it – in the second half of the season, but has been buoyed by the improvement KTM was able to make from the Italian GP when it introduced a relatively small update in the form of a new chassis.

“We saw at KTM it’s a big boost because it shows that with the same effort that [Miguel] Oliveira and [Brad] Binder were doing [at the start of the year], now they are fighting to win races,” he added.

“It’s a little bit what we miss. We also start with a disadvantage, which is everyone started with a holeshot device and we don’t have this device.

“So, this for the acceleration at the moment we are in a disadvantage.

“Let’s see once we are all with the same stuff and then Suzuki starts to bring new things to be faster, let’s see where we will be. I think [with] that we will be strong.”

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