2020 champion Mir "can't wait" to battle Marquez in MotoGP

MotoGP world champion Joan Mir says he "can't wait to start to have battles" with Marc Marquez, but admits Suzuki needs to improve its speed to fight him

2020 champion Mir "can't wait" to battle Marquez in MotoGP

Mir ended a 20-year wait for Suzuki when he won the 2020 title with a race to spare in Valencia last month, having amassed seven podiums - including a victory - to win the championship.

He takes over the crown from six-time title winner Marquez, who missed the 2020 season owing to a broken arm he suffered at the Spanish GP.

Marquez's participation in the start of the 2021 season is in question following a third operation on his arm last week, which is likely to take up to six months to recover from.

Many have passed comment in 2020 that Mir's title win without Marquez present is in some way devalued - claims both riders have dismissed.

Mir says he is looking forward to battling with Marquez when he returns, but concedes himself and Suzuki have much margin to improve.

Speaking exclusively to Autosport in a special edition of the Tank Slappers Podcast last month, Mir said: "Well, for sure it will be really nice, I can't wait to start to have battles with Marc.

"The truth is we need to improve the speed with our Suzuki because we have a bike really balanced, but for sure it's not the fastest one and to beat Marc we need the fastest bike.

"This is really important. We won the title because I'm clever, but not because I was the fastest at the moment with this package.

"So, this means that if I was able to manage the pressure with this package, which is actually not the best one of the grid, talking about speed, if we get the speed and we start to fight a bit for the pole positions, victories in every GP, then I think we can fight with Marc for sure.

"I think we are one of the ones who has more margin to improve on the grid, because I'm not a rookie but I have a lot to experience and a lot to learn - probably more than the others."

Mir is the first rider since Wayne Rainey in 1992 to win the championship without a pole position, and never actually qualified on the front row in 2020 (though started third in the Styrian GP owing to a penalty for Johann Zarco).

Looking ahead to 2021, Mir admits entering the season as reigning champion does add pressure.

"Well, for sure it's pressure," he added.

"You win this title, but for sure for next year you have to repeat it. This is the goal, you cannot say 'no, let's see if I can finish in the top five'.

"Now you start with one title on your back, so for sure it will be important to repeat this result and also fight to repeat this result."

shares
comments
First ever VR46 MotoGP bike livery revealed for Marini in 2021

Previous article

First ever VR46 MotoGP bike livery revealed for Marini in 2021

Next article

Rossi: Yamaha engineers listen to MotoGP riders but "do what they want"

Rossi: Yamaha engineers listen to MotoGP riders but "do what they want"
Load comments

About this article

Series MotoGP
Drivers Alex Marquez , Joan Mir , Marc Marquez
Teams AB Motoracing
Author Lewis Duncan
The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons Plus

The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons

MotoGP’s 2021 rookie crop is one of the strongest in recent years, but one is already standing out. Jorge Martin’s Doha GP heroics have courted many to compare him to numerous MotoGP legends. Autosport spoke to Pramac boss Francesco Guidotti to find out why MotoGP’s latest Spanish star is already making such an impact

MotoGP
Apr 9, 2021
Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash Plus

Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash

Despite Suzuki’s decision not to appeal against Race Direction’s refusal to penalise Jack Miller following the incident with Joan Mir in Losail, something must be done to avoid a repeat of such an incident, which could have easily ended in tragedy

MotoGP
Apr 6, 2021
Has Yamaha banished its demons with its 2021 MotoGP bike? Plus

Has Yamaha banished its demons with its 2021 MotoGP bike?

Against the expected run of play at Qatar's Losail circuit, both Yamaha riders Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo carved through a resolute Ducati defence to secure back-to-back MotoGP wins for the Japanese marque. After a difficult 2020, it appears that Yamaha has swaggered back into championship contention

MotoGP
Apr 5, 2021
Why MotoGP’s top gun looks more dangerous at the Doha GP Plus

Why MotoGP’s top gun looks more dangerous at the Doha GP

Lightning hasn't struck twice for Maverick Vinales since 2017 and his wayward form of recent years makes predicting how he'll fare each MotoGP race weekend tricky. But fresh from his Qatar GP win, Vinales looks like an even more dangerous prospect for the Doha GP following an intriguing Friday practice

MotoGP
Apr 3, 2021
Why MotoGP’s new Amazon series is long overdue Plus

Why MotoGP’s new Amazon series is long overdue

OPINION: MotoGP is getting its own version of Drive to Survive on Amazon Prime at some point in the near future. It was news welcomed by the grid’s leading riders. And following the impact DTS has had on Formula 1, MotoGP desperately needs the same boost.

MotoGP
Mar 31, 2021
Did the Qatar GP hint at Ducati’s true MotoGP leader? Plus

Did the Qatar GP hint at Ducati’s true MotoGP leader?

OPINION: Johann Zarco talked a big game pre-season, and is so far vindicating himself as a factory rider at Pramac after finishing the Qatar GP as top Ducati in second. And contrasting his and Jack Miller's weekends and their approaches, is Zarco emerging as Ducati's true MotoGP leader?

MotoGP
Mar 30, 2021
The key changes behind the latest 'return of the Mack' Plus

The key changes behind the latest 'return of the Mack'

Maverick Vinales’s authoritative victory at the MotoGP season opener came during a period of personal and professional change for the Yamaha rider. Can it be the springboard for a title challenge?

MotoGP
Mar 29, 2021
The past clues which hint at the MotoGP order in Qatar Plus

The past clues which hint at the MotoGP order in Qatar

The MotoGP season kicks off this weekend in Qatar - two years after it last visited the Losail circuit for a race weekend as last season's round was called off. As ever, the pecking order is difficult to map out at this early stage of the season, but perhaps the 2019 race offers some clues as to how things might shake out...

MotoGP
Mar 27, 2021