Suzuki’s Mir admits underwhelming Qatar MotoGP race “difficult to understand”

Suzuki’s Joan Mir says his run to a disappointing sixth place in the MotoGP Qatar Grand Prix is “difficult to understand” having been one of the pre-race favourites.

Joan Mir, Team Suzuki MotoGP

Suzuki has made big strides with its 2022 MotoGP bike over the winter and showed strong race pace across practice in Qatar, as well as topping the official speed charts with its more powerful engine. 

Despite qualifying down in eighth, Mir was expected to rise to the front of the field and battle for victory in last Sunday’s 22-lap season-opener. 

But he encountered rear grip problems early on and struggled to “make the bike go forward”, which meant he could do no more than sixth at the chequered flag. 

“[It] was a really physical race, because the pace was really high,” Mir said. “I was struggling on the last 15 laps of the race and it was difficult. Honestly, I’m a bit disappointed because I didn’t expect what happened in the race. 

“I made a good start, I was there, my feeling was really good. But then I started to have trouble – I think a lot of people did – with the front tyre, that was moving. 

“I think it’s something normal because it’s a soft tyre and in this track if you are riding in 1m54s the front will move. If you are in front you have less trouble than if you are behind. So this I think is more normal. 

“What happened with the rear grip, this is something that we must work a little bit on because the rear dropped a lot and I was having a lot of trouble making the bike go forward.”

He later added: “Normally we are good in that area [tyre management] and it’s an area that I always try to care a lot [about]. 

“So let’s try to understand why, and to understand what we can do to be better on the last laps because it’s difficult to understand.”

Joan Mir, Team Suzuki MotoGP

Joan Mir, Team Suzuki MotoGP

Photo by: MotoGP

Mir doesn’t believe the new engine contributed to his rear tyre issues and thinks it’s simply down to set-up, noting: “For sure we have to work on the electronics side a little bit more, probably it was not perfect.

“But I think it was more set-up, geometry, trying to understand a bit more. The last part of last year, I struggled in the last part of the race.”

Team-mate Alex Rins finished around four seconds adrift in seventh having suffered with front tyre issues, which he thinks could have been down to the soft option being too pliable for the Suzuki. 

“It was a bit strange because in the first part of the race I was suffering a little bit to overtake faster riders,” Rins said. “But then when I was alone after overtaking [Jorge] Martin, I was trying to go to Joan, who was the rider that was in front. 

“I was pushing, I was pushing, but I had a lot of problems with the front. 

“Something that never happened before, braking was good but moving to the corner, I don’t know if the tyre was too soft for us, but I was having these kind of problems.”

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Despite Suzuki’s underwhelming Sunday not delivering on its pre-race promise, Mir is convinced the Japanese marque will bounce back. 

“There’s a lot of manufacturers in front of us, it’s true,” he added. “But it’s only the first race, honestly. I think the people who struggled here will not struggle in the future. 

“Everything will I hope get back to normal. I think as a team we have more to say than only to fight for that top five. 

“I’m not worried. I know that everything will come better.”

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