Joan Mir put together an excellent performance today at Mugello. The 2020 world champion faced a difficult race but finished on the third step of the podium behind Oliveira's KTM and Quartararo's Yamaha, and is now fifth in the world rankings with 65 points.
"It was difficult to put on the helmet today, it was not an easy day, not only for me but also for everyone else I think - explained the Suzuki rider - Even seeing the empty stands without any yellow smoke changed the atmosphere that we usually live here at Mugello. We riders empathize a lot when such misfortunes happen, we often forget that this is a dangerous sport. Episodes of this kind push us to respect each other more among riders, but on the other hand we must also think about ourselves and the race, if you don't stay focused it's better not to put your helmet back on. "
You didn't start from the front row yet you still managed to get a podium.
"I concentrated, I gave my best in the race and managed to find a good pace. I tried to pass Oliveira, unfortunately his bike was a lot faster on the straight and he was also strong in the corners, but I still want to thank the team for doing a great job with the bike, we just lack a bit of speed. We still got on the podium and now we will try to do better on circuits that are more favourable to us, so I am quite satisfied with the work done so far. "
This year the Suzuki has obvious limits in qualifying, what is this due to?
"For sure the Ducatis have improved a lot this year and they are always ahead of us, last year we weren't in this situation and qualifying was more competitive."
What difference do you notice between the Suzuki and the other bikes?
"Zarco's Ducati had an extra gear on the straight, he brakes suddenly and then opens the gas again, it's really difficult for me to get him back. The KTMs even have a different style, from what I saw with Miguel, they manage to have an excellent cornering speed. For sure they are two bikes that I wouldn't want to fight on the last lap. "
What are you missing to improve the bike?
"I know that in Japan they are working on some components, it will take some time, we lack a bit of speed but I think the bike will improve even more in the future, I'm very optimistic."
Scoring points without taking risks is once again proving to be a winning strategy, contrary to what Marquez thinks…
"Honestly, today I gave my best, simply with the current setup of the bike I didn't have enough to catch Oliveira and therefore I don't see anything wrong in taking home some points without taking unnecessary risks."
Compared to last year, the situation in the standings appears less confused, with more or less the same riders competing for the podium, does this create problems for you?
"This year Quartararo and Bagnaia are very strong, it is clear. On the one hand the Yamaha is always doing very well in qualifying, and we lack the power of the Ducati in overtaking, so yes the situation is certainly more complicated for us in Suzuki than in the past year, but I have confidence in the bike and in the work we are doing and I think we will do well in the next races. "
Both you and Oliveira went onto the green, do you think the track limit penalties are too severe?
"I was so focused that I honestly didn't even notice, in the middle of the race it is possible to make mistakes. And it's frustrating because we riders have no say in the matter. I think it's right that limits are set on the track otherwise the trajectories would end by be increasingly wide and potentially dangerous, but there is also the risk of being punished and losing points in a stupid way so you should decide on a case by case basis. "
You also fought a lot with your teammate during the race, did it make you lose a lot of time?
"In fact I lost some time, on the one hand I was trying to catch Miller, and Rins was behind me attacking me, in the end I managed to keep a good pace and finish the race, but I must admit that I had limits especially in the first sector of the race, I think that doing better than that without taking unnecessary risks would not have been possible. "
Alex Rins, who crashed for the fourth time in a row just a few laps from the finish, appears visibly frustrated…
"My front tucked in and I ended up in the gravel. Mir doesn't seem to have the same problem, so now we'll have to analyse the data with the team to figure out how to solve this situation."