Joan Mir once again fights his qualifying woes.
2021 hasn’t exactly been the ideal championship defence for 2020 champion Joan Mir, his issues blossomed way back in Qatar when Suzuki were unable to conclusively decide if the 2020 or 2021 chassis were better due to the final day of testing being completely written off due to a sandy track, this forced Suzuki to opt into using some 2020 parts which have slightly hindered Mir in the early stages of the 2021 season.
Joan Mir won his 2020 MotoGP title by remaining consistent, he was the most consistent rider of them all racking up 7 podiums in the 11 races he finished which took him to the title, his Suzuki worked to perfection and it didn’t matter which track the GSX-RR was taken to, it would instantly be able to adapt and be quick even on track where it would be expected to be slow like Austria and Aragon due to the fast straights on the track which play into the Suzuki’s weakness of a lesser top speed than their competitors.
The Suzuki’s outright advantage is its turning, the bike turns beautifully and every rider who has ridden it agrees, the bike allows riders to carry a high amount of corner speed alongside a smooth entry and exit unlike other bikes such as the Honda and KTM which often require riders to force them to fit, whereas the Suzuki goes wherever the rider directs. This meant that the bike was incredibly tough to pass last year all season long, Suzuki’s issue however was the fact that neither rider is very good at qualifying.
Although last year he was consistent with top results, he was also consistent with qualifying outside of the top 10, giving himself a lot of work to do to make up ground and positions during races, in 2021, this has not changed too much.
Mir took his first MotoGP podium at Austria 2020.
Once again in 2021 Mir struggles to qualify, confirming recently that no matter what is done to improve the Suzuki GSX-RR, he still struggles to qualify with a best qualifying position of P9 in 2021, this qualifying pattern continues to haunt him and nearly cost him the title last year as it gives him 20% more work to do than his opponents who qualify in the top 5, this means that Mir has to overtake a minimum of 6 riders if he wants to fight for the podium positions whereas riders like Fabio Quartararo who holds the pole record in 2021 can start from P1 and afford to lose two places and still taste podium prosecco. This qualifying wasn’t so much of an issue in 2020 for Mir as every round he was able to work his way through the pack and take a podium finish but it is proving to be damaging his title defence a year later.
Don’t get me wrong, he is doing a grand job so far sat in P4 overall however is a massive 55 points behind championship leader Fabio Quartararo who looks to be unstoppable this year, this ground will be incredibly hard to make up if Mir doesn’t sort his qualifying out and sort it out fast, his results have been enough to hand him three podium trophies on the bottom step of the podium, losing 9 championship points to race winner Quartararo every single time.
We all know that Mir needs to improve his qualifying, slowly and surely he has crept his way up the championship standings to move into fourth place with a worst result of P9 so far this year, his consistency once again remains intact as MotoGP head to tracks he performed incredibly well at last year including Austria where he took his first MotoGP podium last year before nearly winning the second round at the track a week later, falling foul to a race restart and no spare tyres to put into his bike, eventually claiming fourth place.
Mir needs to nip this issue in the bud and fast, if he can consistently start on the front two rows of the grid, there is no reason why he cannot go head-to-head against Fabio Quartararo for the title as the Suzuki man has proven to be once again incredibly fast and incredibly consistent.
Featured images – motogp.com