The Valencia Grand Prix is Joan Mir’s first match point, and the fact that he’s racing on the same track where he triumphed last Sunday can only be good news for him. The point advantage over his two most direct rivals (Fabio Quartararo and teammate Alex Rins) are 37, which means he will have to get ahead of them or not lose more than 11 from both to be able to celebrate on Sunday evening. Without getting lost in abstruse calculations, if he’s on the podium, it’s a done deal.
Suzuki’s Spanish rider proved to be impervious to any kind of pressure but, logically, the closer the finish line gets, some nervousness is understandable.
The mild weather will also help this weekend, and Joan is ready to face the challenge.
“It’s an incredible feeling to be leading the championship and to have Alex in second place. The team is doing a fantastic job,” Mir said. “Even though I have a decent lead in the standings, I can’t take anything for granted, and it’s important to stay focused. I just want to go out there and spend the weekend like I usually do, and then let’s see what happens with the checkered flag.”
Alex Rins: “Still 50 points at stake, I’ll give it my all”
As mentioned, Rins is still battling it out for the championship, so it’s impossible to think about team games. But Alex and Joan really respect each other, and this promises a fair fight between the two. Rins only has to think about winning the race, which is by no means impossible, considering his second place on Sunday.
“Joan has a good lead in the championship, but there are still fifty points at stake, so we have to give it our all and aim for the best result,” is Alex’s strategy. “I felt very good on my GSX-RR last weekend, I've had a good pace and, this weekend, with easier conditions and more dry track time, could be even better. I’m thrilled to be able to race on this circuit again, and I hope to be able to leave him with more points and in an even better position.”