Braking into corners the rear tyre grips so well that bike balance shifts too far back, so the front tyre doesn’t grip properly, so the rider can’t turn the bike.
Accelerating out of corners, the rear tyre grips so well that once again bike balance shifts too far back so the front tyre barely touches the asphalt, so it can’t steer the bike.
“Joan finds it very difficult to get the rear tyre to spin because it’s got so much grip, which effectively just pushes the bike off the track,” says Mir’s crew chief Frankie Carchedi. “It gets better as the race goes on, so we need to find a better equilibrium so it’s a bit better at the start of races.”
“I’m quite proud of him for his Misano ride because it isn’t an easy place to overtake and he passed riders at lots of different corners: Turns One, Two, Ten and 14.”
Mir’s latest result makes him the highest-scoring rider of the last four races: 69 points against Dovizioso’s 53, Viñales’ 41 and Fabio Quartararo’s 24. The 23-year-old now stands fourth overall, one point behind Viñales and Quartararo and four behind Dovizioso. And he would almost certainly be leading the championship if he hadn’t been taken out by Iker Lecuona at Brno.
“There are two sides to Joan, like Jekyll and Hyde,” added Carchedi. “There’s the super-fast, aggressive side and then there’s the softer side, which is what we’ve been working on – looking after tyres and managing races. He’s getting better and better at that and then every now and again you’ll see him unleash himself when he needs to be aggressive.
Mir’s speed and consistency are amazing considering his lack of experience. He only started GPs in 2016, dominating the Moto3 championship at his second attempt, then a year in Moto2 and into MotoGP last season. Compare that to Dovizioso, who’s been in GPs since 2002, Viñales who’s been around since 2011 and Quartararo who started one year earlier in 2015.
“The thing you’ve got to remember with Joan is that he’s still learning,” continued Carchedi. “We try to be really well prepared for every race, by watching previous races to see how people ride and the lines they use. Suzuki always works on improving the whole package of the bike, keeping it balanced, and they’ve created a decent package for 2020. But it’s Joan that’s made the big step.”
Mir is ready for the second half of the 14-round season.
“Everything starts now,” he said at Misano. “I feel great with the bike. The Suzuki has a really good balance and more or less works everywhere. Also, I made one click in my mind after my first podium [at the Austrian GP], which has helped me to fight for the podium at every race. I’m not looking at the championship now, but let’s see if we can keep this consistency to the last race.”
Suzuki and Mir go to Barcelona full of optimism. Last year, the team had one of its best results at the track: Rins fourth and Mir sixth, his second-best result of an injury-blighted rookie season. And the GSX-RR headed the top-speed chart, with Rins quickest at 213.1mph and Mir third, thanks in part to the high-speed corner that precedes the straight.
“On paper I expect better at Barcelona than in Austria and at Misano,” Mir added. “But this year with different tyres and everything you never know. Only from FP1 will I start to understand how I can fight in Sunday’s race. The main goal is we need to start from the first two rows if we want to take the next step and fight for victory.”
Mir’s recent form gives him a great chance to score his first MotoGP victory at Barcelona and take the championship lead. On the other hand, considering the wildly erratic nature of MotoGP 2020, anything could happen.