Joan Mir joined the Repsol-Honda team this year with Marc Marquez. HRC is a team that has always only had world champions, but many failed by comparison. If, in fact, Dani Pedrosa has been able to kept the pace, however, never materializing it into a MotoGP title, Jorge Lorenzo, Pol Espargaro, but also Alex Marquez failed.
The first point is: did they have the same bike as the eight-time champion? During the Sepang tests, for example, Marc had four bikes available. Mir talked about his expectations with AS.
“Sepang was important because, besides having to get used to a completely different riding style, I had to give development guidelines for this year. It’s difficult, because when you can’t take full advantage of the bike, the feedback isn’t real. We first of all tried to reach a good level and then give some guidelines. I think we did a good job because we were close to Marc’s feedback, and that’s important. Because you can create a bit of confusion if you ask different things. The way Marc and I ride isn’t that different, and we can go in the same direction.”
Of course, Joan Mir isn’t in Honda as just some token bunny, even if he won the 2020 World Championship with the Suzuki and with only one win.
“The expectation is high. I honestly don’t know if I’ll be ready to fight for the podium right from the first race. Testing and development for the bike will be very important. I’ll try to be competitive from the first race, but we’ll see. When I say that we’re different, it means that we’re all different, not that one is better than the other. It’s clear that coming to this team with a teammate like the one I have makes the challenge even more complicated. But this teammate wants the same thing I want, to be successful. If he proves it can be done, then it can be done. I’m obviously joining a team which he’s been in for many years. He knows the bike perfectly well, and this makes it a great challenge. The challenge comes at a good time in my career, and I’ve already said that I’m very excited to be able to wear these colors. I can’t afford to fail, not to be in the forefront. That’s something I can’t afford.”
Joan will be able to count on the knowledge and friendship with the new entry, Kawauchi, the former Suzuki engineer who arrived this season in HRC.
“Everyone has something different to contribute, like Alberto Puig says. I got to see Ken work. He’s a very methodical person. He has a very orderly way of working and, if they took him on, it’s because they believe in him. I think he can bring interesting things to the table. I think he can bring something to the table coming from a brand that has followed all the developments, firsthand. And he can bring a lot of information to Honda from a place like Suzuki, where he didn’t have a lot of resources.”