Everyone believed that Joan Mir was going to do well in Moto 2 when the Mallorcan rider moved to the intermediate category as Moto3 World Champion. But most probably didn’t predict he would perform with the precocity that he has. His spectacular race in Austin in the third GP of the season put him in the spotlight and he automatically entered the list of potential future riders on virtually all factory MotoGP teams. Mir is the name of the moment.
We sat down with the Spanish rider in Le Mans before the French GP to talk about the current season, but more importantly about the future and how likely is the move to MotoGP next year. “If I had an offer from MotoGP, I would like to go…Yes, my priority is to be in MotoGP,” Joan replied with the complete ease. Talking with him is natural. He’s a young man who expresses himself well, is very clear about what he wants to say, and transmits a calmness of one who has everything under control. I think that’s called maturity.
The first thing we asked was about the race in Austin, where after passing 19th on the first lap, he crossed the finish line fourth, 5.3 seconds from the winner. “The truth is that after the first two races, in which our progression was good, I expected that in Texas we could be fighting to be ahead,” he explains without false modesty. “In practice we were very strong, always among the 3-4-5 in front. Then in the race what happened was: They touched me and that forced me to race from the back of the pack. But well beyond that, we showed that we are able to be competitive in this category in just a few races.”
“I would like my time in Moto2 to be as brief as possible”
After Texas you turned into a contender for the title!
“It’s true, yes, but it’s not that easy. Here all the riders have a tough experience. Yes it is true that we have scored points in all races and that’s something very positive. We are going a way that I like; we always are in the points. And I think that if you do things right, it’s normal for people to put you as a contender for the title.”
I see that you don’t dismiss it [the title].
“I don’t rule it out because if we keep going this way…In each race we are getting stronger. My feelings on the bike are getting better, I feel like we are a single unit. The sensations are the same as I felt last year with the Moto3. So, why not think about the title? At the moment I think my progression is still very good.”
You mentioned that consistency in this category is very important, that there can’t be ups and downs.
“Exactly. The Jerez race, for example, was complicated by the physical problems I suffered: gastroenteritis, and I preferred to score points rather than try everything and crash.”
You’ve had very little time with Moto2. What is the most difficult thing?
“Under braking I’m very comfortable with respect to the others. It’s always been my strong point, although I still don’t feel as comfortable as I should; I still can’t stop the bike completely. In a category like this you have to have the bike set up for you. In Moto3, if you didn’t have the perfect bike, with drafting you could manage the race and at the end you were still in the battle. Not here. Here you have to have everything perfect and in just a few races it’s difficult for the team to understand 100% what you need … I know I can do better, but in relation to others I think I’m already at a good level.
“I am the one who decides my future. I am fully aware of what I can sign, what I can do and what I want to do”
So … In braking I’m fine, in the corners I’m fine, but the moment to turn the bike to get out is where it’s the hardest for me, and that’s where we’re working. We did some tests in Mugello before coming to France that went very well; I feel better every time.
And accelerating, how are you?
“Well…We are all equal; we all have the same engine. The key is the moment of opening gas sooner, meaning having the bike well positioned to accelerate.”
Is it true that you have commented in your garage that your time in Moto2 will be short?
“No, I have not said that, but yes, I would like it to be brief. I would like to feel comfortable in this category as soon as possible, as I am doing now, and if I am fighting with the riders in the front in the first year…If a MotoGP offer came then I’d like to leave.”
“I see myself along the same path that Viñales followed; I think it’s a step to take if the occasion arises.”
Is not it essential that you do it as a champion?
“No, my priority is to be in MotoGP; but as I said, to make the jump, I have to feel strong.”
Do you think about the case of Miller, who made the step to MotoGP and had a hard time catching up in the category?
“It’s not the same; he went from Moto3 to MotoGP. I see myself more on the path that Viñales followed. I think it’s a step to take if the occasion arises. MotoGP is where all the best are; being there is my dream. ”
Do you manage your sports career or do you have someone you trust who decides for you?
“No, no … I’m the one who decides. I’m fully aware of what I can sign, what I can do and what I want to do.”
What do you think is the right way to get to MotoGP? In the style of Viñales, who did two seasons with a transition team like Suzuki, or like Márquez who went directly to the front line going to HRC?
Well … It’s hard to say. But I think that when Maverick went to Suzuki the team was a top team, not a second line team. I don’t think it was comparable to a Pramac or some satellite team. The Suzuki option will have projection; Maverick’s path is a good idea.”
Your relationship with Alex Márquez, how is it?
“Good, good. This team is like two teams in one; We work independently, but it doesn’t mean there is no communication between the two parts.”
Do you follow the racing in MotoGP?
And how do you see it?
Well …I see like, I see that Marc is cleaning up a little this year.
Making correct decisions in MotoGP is important. I say this because, for example, Viñales signed before the season started and he found himself on a motorcycle that makes him crazy.
“Yes, that’s right, making the right decisions is important. But it’s in MotoGP and in the rest of the categories. The important thing in hard times is to go forward and overcome those moments; then the victories come easier.