Joan Mir will start from the third row of the starting grid for tomorrow’s race, in ninth position. At the end of qualifying for the third Grand Prix of the season, the Majorcan has picked up the unenviable record of having to go through Q1 three times. But Mir then showed in both races in Qatar that he is quite capable of rebuilding his own race without being able to have a good qualifying session.
“I am satisfied because I did a good job - said Joan - In FP3 there were some problems: the red flag and some yellow flags, it was difficult to do a single lap but in the end I succeeded and I think I have a good pace. We are aware of what happens when we go through Q1, we don't have an extra tyre to face Q2 and therefore we only have one left. I started well enough but on my second exit it didn't go the way I hoped. I tried but that's how it went ”.
Today Marc followed you Suzuki riders, did it bother you or when it happens, doesn't it worry you?
“Usually nobody likes it when a rider follows you like that. But that's the way it is. Marc often plays these little games. It could create dangerous situations ”.
Tomorrow you will start from ninth position, are you confident for the race?
“Today ninth position is not the same. I usually suffer quite a lot but today I felt fine. I am aware that with an extra new tyre I could have done better. A couple of tenths less and who knows, maybe I would have been in the front row. The important thing is that the bike is working well, I have a good pace and I am among the strongest. Fabio has a good pace and Zarco too. I'll try to overtake as many riders as possible right from the start and then I'll try to manage the race ".
What do you think of all the yellow flags? Were you affected by everything that happened this morning with the ambulance, were you distracted?
"It is definitely a distraction, it is not nice to see the ambulance or the red flag. I think it's not a good image for anyone. For some riders it can be a big distraction. As for the yellow flags, it happened to me too, today in FP3. I was unable to complete many laps for this reason. When there are the yellow flags, it is absolutely necessary to come off the throttle, because it can create very dangerous situations. It is the safest thing to do but many times it’s unfair. This is the reason why we put on every new tyre we have at the beginning of the session, even though we are all aware that towards the end the track improves. The problem that the yellow flag could create also makes us think that towards the end there could be some crashes. I agree with it”.
Will we see a strong Suzuki on the track tomorrow? Will you have a different approach to overtaking?
“It is more difficult to overtake here than in Qatar. There is only one point where you can go fast to do it. In FP4 Aleix slowed down and Miller was very close to him, I wanted to overtake them but I couldn't. It will be difficult to do it tomorrow in the race ”.
Rins: "I suffered tyre drop. Marquez is very smart"
As well as the results in the races, one of the problems Suzuki was accused of having was not being able to do fast laps in qualifying and today Alex Rins put things right. The Spaniard, at the start of the Portuguese GP, will start from the second slot of the starting grid, immediately behind Fabio Quartararo, by just 89 thousandths. The #42, who did not go well in FP4 finishing with the 12th fastest time, set a lap time of 1’38.951 which was good enough to secure him the middle place in the front row.
“I'm very happy to start from the front row tomorrow - Alex Rins said - it's not easy in MotoGP to make a good lap but I did it. Tomorrow we will see, it will certainly be a difficult race. I don't know what Joan thinks but I suffered a lot of tyre drop. Starting from the front will be a great help. The Ducatis are there and Fabio also seems to have a good pace ”.
You usually have difficulties in qualifying, did you have a particular strategy today?
"I changed my approach a bit. I felt very comfortable with the set-up of the bike and the tyres on the Suzuki were also fine. Usually it's not easy but today it went better than usual in qualifying ”.
During Q2 there was a moment when Marc was waiting for you. What do you think about that? Does it bother you or you don't pay much attention to it?
“Yes, Marc was waiting for me to come out before the second run. We went along the pit lane together. Marc is very smart in doing these things, gradually I understood how it works and I was playing along with it. I'm happy because even when I was on my own I pushed a lot and managed to set the time ”.
Did the tyre drop affect your performance? Fabio had a good pace, do you think you can keep up with him tomorrow?
“I felt quite comfortable, I don't know about the others. In FP4 Fabio went fast and I don't know if the others suffered the drop as well. I have a general view of my situation and how many laps I can do on a tyre, and everything else. If Fabio manages to have this pace throughout the race it will be hard for us to keep up with him ”.
Are you worried about ending up in the group and having to do a lot of overtaking?
“I usually have a good start in the race and this will help me a lot. I'm on the front row and I'll just have to manage the race well ”.