Joan Mir had unfinished business with the Portimao track. After winning the World Championship in Valencia, the Spanish rider showed up in Portugal last November, perhaps inattentive and, as if that weren’t enough, the Suzuki presented him with all the technical problems he hadn’t encountered before throughout the season. The engine during the tests, and the electronics in the race after a clash with Bagnaia, had led the new champion to pull out of the last race of the season. But today Mir can say that he got his revenge with a third place.
“I’m happy to have gotten the first podium of the season,” Mir said. “At the start of the race, I felt good, I was managing my pace, but then I had some problems with the front. Anyway, I gave it my all today and managed to survive on what I had. I wanted to overtake Bagnaia, who had lost something in the last few laps, to get to second place, but he defended himself well and closed all doors for me. Besides, I was worried because I knew I had Morbidelli behind me.”
Is this the first time you had a problem with the front? Do you already know what caused it?
“No, I had felt something similar last year in Aragon, but it was back today while, in Qatar, I had had some problems with the rear. Now we need to understand what happened because, if the same problem occurs again on other tracks, it may not go so well, and it will be difficult to reach the podium. It was strange because, this morning in the warm up, with lower temperatures, I had no problem of this type. We should check all the data.”
Between Qatar and Portimao, Joan Mir tallied up thirty-eight points, which earned him the fifth position in the world rankings at -23 from Quartararo. Not ideal, of course, but still a good result on two tracks that aren’t perfectly suited for the Suzuki.
“Yes, let’s say that this start of the season is not very favorable to the bike and my riding style. Qatar, due to the long straight, but also Portimao, Jerez, and Le Mans are difficult tracks. We have some shortcomings in speed. Yamaha is performing incredibly, and Ducati has made progress, but we’re gaining in other areas.”
In addition to having a problem in managing the Suzuki on the Portimao track, Mir also had to contend with the absence of his crew chief, Frankie Carchedi, who’s stuck in Andorra due to Covid.
“This weekend, without Frankie, it was difficult, but Tom O’Kane was really good, and this podium is a nice reward for both of us. We connected with Carchedi after each session. It went well.”