Joan Mir has been crowned the 2020 MotoGP World Champion at Valencia after a stunning season.
Joan Mir, the 2017 Moto3 World Champion, was the unexpected champion of the 2020 MotoGP season, especially after 3 races when Marc Marquez was out of the picture, following the Brno round of the season, Mir was sat in P16 in the championship standings with just 11 points to his name, fast forward 2 weeks to the Austrian Grand Prix and he is stood on the podium for the first time after a stunning race in which he was able to overtake Jack Miller at the very last corner to take second place.
Joan Mir getting his taste of MotoGP class prosecco for the first time
From then on, Mir went from highs to even higher highs, rocketing his way up the championship standings with unbelievable consistency, just a week after his first podium, he would lead and Grand Prix for the first time, controlling the Styrian Grand Prix from the front as the bike was perfectly dialled in, he opted for the soft tyres which were working perfectly, etching out a 2 second gap to second-placed Jack Miller who was under pressure from Takaaki Nakagami, sadly though, this win was not to be his.
The race was stopped due to an incident involving Maverick Vinales whereby his brakes destroyed themselves at 140mph and he was forced to jump from his Yamaha YZF-M1, his bike smashing into an air fence and destroying it, race protocol means that if an air fence becomes deflated, the session must be red-flagged whilst the air fence is replaced, this meant that Mir was forced to pull into the pits and restart the race. Unfortunately for Mir, he was unable to be as fast as he was in the second half of the race, this was because he had no spare tyres meaning he had to go back out on his Suzuki on the half-used soft tyres which were just past their golden point, this meant that Mir took home fourth place, robbed of his first victory.
This did not stop him, he was able to bounce back with three podiums at Misano 1, Misano 2 and Catalunya, angering some Rossi fans in the Misano 1 race as he was able to overtake The Doctor in the closing laps in an inch-perfect overtake, demonstrating the pure finesse and ability of the Suzuki to corner with unrivalled precision and accuracy, stopping a VR46 trio podium. This did not both Mir in the slightest, deservedly celebrating the podium and his massive gain in the championship.
Mir’s qualifying has become a sticking point in 2020, he is normally qualifying outside of the top 10 which is hindering his races, this was proven at the FrenchGP when he came home in P11, unable to make a dent or improvement on his qualifying position.
This was not much of an issue, however, bouncing back at Aragon with two podiums, taking the championship lead for the first time, something he would not relinquish as rival Fabio Quartararo self-destructed on track with crashes, bike problems and poor performances. Mir and teammate Alex Rins would both appear on the podium in the Aragon races as Rins also flew up the championship standings from P14 at one point.
Alex Rins and Joan Mir on the box at Aragon
Round 12 at Valencia rolled around, Mir was a winless title leader with many armchair critics (idiots) moaning on social media that Joan Mir did not deserve a title if he did not win a race, something riders such as Jorge Lorenzo publically spoke against saying he would deserve the title, which we agree with. Mir himself knew he had to win a race, he wanted to win a race for himself and that is exactly what he did.
Mir and Rins would stand on the podium in a historic 1-2, something Suzuki had not achieved since way back in 1982, a race which was actually a 1-2-3 with Randy Mamola winning the race, Virginio Ferrari in second and Loris Reggiani in third on the Suzuki RG500’s. Mir would take his championship lead up to a huge 37 points with just two races to go with Alex Rins slotting into tied second in the standings with Fabio Quartararo, with just 50 points left on the table, it was Mir’s to lose.
Given his unbelievable consistency, mental strength and will to continue, it was almost certain Mir would win it. You see, Mir has been different, different to all the other riders on the grid and the order riders who have won or tried to win a title before him, Mir has completely flat out refused to think about the championship, deflecting questions in interviews about it and ignoring the media speculation, preferring for a race-by-race strategy, going from race to race without adding pressure to himself and just trying to dig deep and finish in the best possible position, even saying that he doesn’t mind if he loses the title as the year has been amazing regardless and he doesn’t need the title to show this.
This sort of mental strength has carried him to the title, not letting the pressure build-up and explode, unlike rival Fabio Quartararo who very clearly cracked under the pressure, crashing out of races and making silly mistakes which docked him places, proven in the first race at Valencia, crashing out due to a mistake from Aleix Espargaro, then coming into T2 far too hot in the second Valencia race, narrowly missing Vinales and Mir, going wide and being relegated to the back of the field, just to crash out later in the race.
Mir just picked up points and podiums race by race and suddenly he is the champion, even after a P7 at Valencia 2, he was crowned the 2020 MotoGP champion, the first Suzuki champion since Kenny Roberts Jr and adding his name to an illustrious list of champions which includes Marc Marquez, Valentino Rossi, Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini, Barry Sheene and many more riders who have won the biggest prize in motorcycle racing.
Mir and 1982 500cc champion Franco Uncini who also won the title for Suzuki
A huge congratulations to Joan Mir and this outstanding achievement, achieving something many riders dream of, many riders giving their entire lives to the sport and not winning the elusive MotoGP champion, names such as Dani Pedrosa, Max Biaggi and Randy Mamola come to mind, all incredible riders, none of them MotoGP world champions, congratulations Joan Mir, Davide Brivio, Sylvian Guintoli and everyone else who has contributed to this outstanding season, now it’s time for a championship 1-2, team title and manufacturers title to achieve pure dominance.
Featured images – www.motogp.com