Joan Mir is continuing to experience a real nightmare season on a Honda that he is still unable to get it to perform at his best. The same bike that is making Marc Marquez suffer a lot, does not allow the 2020 champion to show his potential and rumours that followed one another in recent weeks regarding a potential move from HRC to other teams for Joan, stressed by this situation.
In the briefing with journalists before the weekend in Barcelona, Mir confirmed that he wants to stay with Honda also for 2024, but he also declared that he wants to see a reaction from Honda, adding that going through such a complex year is more than enough for a rider who has already proven he can be world champion. In short, the Mir we interviewed seems like a rider who carefully chooses his words, who knows he can't say anything with certainty about his future. He's skilled at trying to dribble through the classic awkward questions, but genuine enough to admit he's had enough. Now the only chance for a change is represented by Gresini and a Ducati which has not yet been assigned.
"Here in Barcelona, I only have good memories, I've almost always been competitive, I know how to work here - said Mir - But it's also true that with the Honda we still don't have good throttle control and therefore traction, we're not in that position, there isn't a good connection and that's exactly what I suffer with this bike. If we find at least good stability here, I think we can do something good for the next tracks as well".
Basically, better electronics are required…
"The electronics must help a lot with these bikes, but here we need a lot of mechanical grip. Now we're focused on finding the maximum potential, but with the new aerodynamics we've perhaps lost some grip. We need to understand what the limits are with our package here and then think about having fun".
Nakagami said that from 2024 LCR could become a sort of Pramac for Ducati, but under the Honda colours.
"I don't think it will change much compared to today. In LCR they had the new aerodynamics before us, but certainly having four identical bikes in the future can help. If you remember, we already talked about it when we were at Suzuki. We had a lot of work to do and very little data, so help of this type would have been useful and I think it could also be useful here at Honda".
What can you tell us about your future, you know there's a lot of talk about you.
"My comment is similar to what I just said. My priority is to continue where I am. When you’re in a situation like we are, at the moment, then some teams show interest in you. I feel that if I leave now, I’ll feel like I’m failing. I don’t want that. I want to give more chances but it’s true that we can’t lose more years. But it is true that I want to do it if Honda also believes in it, and I have faith in them. But I want to hear that something changes, because this first part of the season has certainly not been what I hoped and expected. Of course, if I decide, I want answers".
Someone claimed that it was your manager knocking on other teams' doors.
"No, no one of my management has talked to other teams. I mean, he comes to me and talks to me about the various proposals, then I decide. But it wasn't my manager who went to talk to someone".
Do you think the Misano tests could be decisive for your future?
"The Misano tests will be important, but we'll probably have small improvements here and there. The point is that we need a massive change, a different concept. From there we then start taking steps towards the future. I don't think we'll find the bike of our dreams. I know what we're going through and what the reality is. I believe that by putting a lot of effort into it, we can reach the top step by step."
For a world champion like you, when does it the time come to say you’ve had enough after certain results and certain situations?
"For me when you lose a year of your career without podiums, victories… that's a long time. This season I understood this, now we must live with this, whatever the cost. One year is enough, last year I also had problems with Suzuki, I wasn't where I wanted. Then I got here, and the situation is virtually the same. I don't want to do another year like this. I want to see that they are doing something, to feel that things are moving forward."