It's confirmation time for Joan Mir and Suzuki, who were the stars of last year with the Riders' world title clinched at the end of a surprising season. The young Spanish rider, in 2020, was able to let any kind of pressure ride over him, perhaps also because hopes were low for a world title victory. Now, however, as he is one of the favourites and has ‘a lot to lose’ as they say, could he suffer from these high expectations?
"The pressure is always there - said Joan - but it is different than last year. We are riders and our job is to do the best performance possible with the bike, that's what the team asks of us. This year the pressure consists of being competitive and doing what we did last year when the pressure was just to start doing results in MotoGP and be in the position we wanted, and we did that."
Do you feel that you are the favourite this season?
“Last year was a dream season but here in Qatar now we are starting from scratch. The goal for me is obviously to defend the world title. Thinking about 2020 it must be said that we saw a lot of riders capable of winning races but who did not manage to maintain the right consistency to take home the world championship and therefore if I had to choose a name I would choose mine ".
The big absentee of these first two GPs will be Marc Marquez, who has been stopped by the doctors. What do you think about that?
"I saw him when he came to get the vaccine but we didn't talk much because we were training. He is working on his recovery and I have not observed him too much. It is strange that he tested in Barcelona and then in Portimao, because if he felt something strange in his shoulder during the test it would make no sense to ride on a different track only a few days later. The fact that he tried it made me think that he would come here to Qatar ”.
When he returns, can he be immediately competitive in the fight for the world championship?
“This absence is for sure not positive for him because these two races are very important because they allow us to start getting serious again and he too would need it to understand a bit how he feels riding a MotoGP bike. Should he return at Portimao, it will be more complicated to be strong from the start but I think no one knows how to ride a MotoGP bike better than him, so I expect him to be competitive right away. "
Mir: "Suzuki hasn't changed much, even without Brivio"
Last year the Suzuki seemed to be the most balanced bike in the championship, will this be your strong point in 2021 too?
“We have some big challenges ahead of us and in the tests we prepared our best to face the season. The engine of the bike is the same so there have been no major changes, not even in terms of set-up. During the season it will be important to maintain the consistency of 2020 and be able to manage the speed well in the race ”.
In the Suzuki garage, however, there will no longer be Davide Brivio who went to Formula 1 with Alpine. How much will his contribution be missed?
“Davide did a great job of putting everything in place in this team and showed that this team and the people who work in it are capable of winning a world title. Suzuki is now keeping things as they are, without making too many changes and without trying to replace Davide. I think they are doing very well so far, we wish Brivio the best of luck in Formula 1 ”.
Mir: "Miller the opponent, Aleix Espargarò the surprise"
Who do you think the most difficult opponents will be?
“I feel very good on the bike but I see that Jack Miller with the Ducati is also doing a great job. I think Aleix Espargarò and Aprilia could be a surprise, we have to take all of this into account. "
At the end of the tests you told us you wanted to consult your doctor before getting the Covid-19 vaccine here in Qatar. Did you decide?
“Yes, I took the first dose of the vaccine. We had the opportunity to get vaccinated to be able to travel safer and to avoid the problems of last year and to be more relaxed at home. It was an act of responsibility to get the vaccine because we travel all over the world ”.