Joan Mir can breathe a sigh of relief after the day of testing concluded on the Valencia track. With injuries and crashes, the Majorcan's first season aboard the RC213V of the Repsol Honda team turned out to be a nightmare, but the future seems to be much more encouraging after the results obtained on this Tuesday of testing.
"It's the first time I have been able to feel a difference since I arrived, I'm quite happy, it's the first time in a test that they really brought something that worked. But I quickly got into the lap times and this bike seems to be working better. We had a very good rhythm in all the rides we did, every time we went out it improved. It hasn't happened in a long time,” commented Joan.
Despite not being able to take part in the last round of 2023 due to a crash during testing, the 2020 World Champion managed to successfully complete the first official test of 2024.
"I felt pretty good all day, it was a challenge, on Friday after the crash I thought I wasn't going to be able to do the test. It was hard to improve a little bit every day and it was difficult to get the feeling after not riding during the weekend - said Mir - The grip, which is an aspect we complained about throughout the year, it has improved, also the bike is lighter and this is an advantage, because it also helps a little when cornering and stopping it. In the morning I was a bit worried, because the track conditions were not good and sometimes it is difficult to make real comparisons when the wind is strong. Despite the wind, however, I was able to feel an improvement and it's great. I know we still have some margin for Sepang."
There are many positive signs ahead of next season. Also highlighted by the fact that the Honda rider ended the day in ninth position, with a time of 1'30.051, despite not having gone searching for a quick time.
“In the last part of the day I concentrated on the set-up and on some components to test on the front and the last outing with used tyres was also quite good. I lapped at a low 1'30 pace and I'm happy about it, because these are the times we need to do to stay in front - said the 26 year old - It's fantastic because we didn't do a real time attack, we just concentrated on working in the best way possible. We tried a lot of things and we didn't have time to put the soft tyres on to attack the time, but I'm very happy. The potential is different."
The new bike also proved to be a good step forward on the front, one of the most critical points of the RC213V in 2023.
“The level of stress on the front is the same, but as the bike is lighter the braking point changes. The bike is a bit longer and larger than the previous one, so we have to work on the set-up to be able to adapt it to my riding style, but I managed to get some good feedback - said Joan - It's only the first test, but it's also true that this is a track that demands a lot from the front."
Mir: “I saw a reaction inside the garage”
Although there are still aspects to improve in view of the upcoming winter tests, Mir was pleasantly impressed by the work carried out by the Tokyo manufacturer between the Misano test and this last outing of the year.
"The engine is not fantastic, it's not the best they brought, it's one of the things they need to improve for the Sepang test, but I'm happy overall. The grip is better, we suffered a lot there and that's a clear improvement. Then also the handling of the bike, it's much easier because it weighs less. It has become an easier bike to ride. The character of the engine is a little bit the same and that we have to keep working on. We worked on it with used tyres and I found some progress. I saw a reaction inside the garage - admitted the Iberian - I didn't expect a reaction like this in such a short time, it's clear that these people know how to make bikes, I think it's just a matter of time before they bring something that really works and from there to improve. The bike I rode today is a good starting point to do good things next year, we need to take another step but seeing what I saw today I'm sure they will."
The reorganization of the Repsol team garage after the departure of Marc Marquez led to a change of technical staff for the Majorcan, who began working with the eight-time world champion's mechanics and his long-time crew chief, Santi Hernandez.
“I can't say whether it was something I asked for or something Honda proposed to me, but the fact remains that the opportunity presented itself to me and I didn't think twice about it,” he commented - I'm very happy with the move I made. I saw a harmony in the garage that I really liked. I enjoyed the test and I liked the way the team worked."
As for the fourth place achieved by his former teammate on his debut on the Gresini team's Ducati, the two-time world champion added: "I wasn't surprised because he took a bike that was already completely evolved and no one doubts the talent and speed of Marc. I don't think he showed all his cards."
A change of team that Joan would have made if he had the chance? “Not today, because I had a good day and we tried some things that really worked - replied the Honda rider - the reality is that the project I have at the moment and the desire I have to make it work are bigger than any changes I could make.”