Click here to read's full interview with Joan Mir.

To do it once could be viewed as lucky. Twice could be considered a charm. But eight times? If last season’s thrilling Moto3 championship underlined one thing, it’s that Joan Mir – arguably grand prix racing’s hottest prospect – has the nerve of a gunslinger.

The 20-year old, who hails from Palma de Mallorca, sailed to his maiden world crown last October, winning the championship with two races to spare and notching up ten wins along the way – only Valentino Rossi won more across (eleven) a season in grand prix’s junior category. Little wonder he’s causing excitement.

Yet, more than the numbers, it was Mir’s method and temperament that shone through, marking him out as a future star at the highest level. In a class of all-or-nothing racing, his cool head, ability to think on his feet and formulate a devastating plan as the race neared its conclusion proved irresistible for most of ’17.

Victories in Qatar, Argentina, Barcelona, Germany, Czech Republic, Aragon, Australia and Malaysia were all achieved in the heat of the battle; and left his rivals looking a little second rate. Time and again, the former FIM Junior World Championship star timed his attacks to perfection.

What comes as a surprise is to hear Mir speaking of these feats in such an understated way. There is no special training for such events, he insisted in a recent interview with

“I think that it’s something you cannot train for,” he said of his preparations for those inevitable last lap slogs. “It’s impossible, no? It’s natural. It’s instinct, yes, and studying my rivals a little bit. And that’s it.”

Only once in ’17 did that not pay off: at the Dutch TT at Assen, when a spot of over-confidence left him ninth, and at the back of a nine-rider lead group. It’s something the ever-smiling and extremely polite Mir was only too happy to admit.

“Yeah, I learnt,” he says of his failed tactics at Assen. “I learnt a lot because I was too confident. I said, ‘OK, I have won this race, easily’ and it wasn’t [the case]. I thought if one rider overtook me than I would overtake them again on the last corner, and [it would be] easy. Then eight of them overtook me. It was something to learn.”

Mir held his hands up straight away, declaring, “the important thing is to learn from our mistakes.” His Leopard Honda team’s press release previewing the following race in Germany included a warning to all those who dared challenge: “There will not be a second time.” From there, he would not be defeated until late August.

By that point securing a first world title seemed all-but-inevitable. Another close fought win at Aragon put him a considerable 80 points clear of second-placed Romano Fenati. An underwhelming result in the Japanese rain aside, Mir underlined exactly why he was a deserving champion with fine wins at Phillip Island, where he secured the title, and Sepang.

Had he initially counted on 2017’s success? “No, not like this,” he smiles. “My goal at the beginning of the season was to fight for the championship, but not to win ten races and all the podiums, the pole and the championship. It’s unbelievable.

“I think when I won in Le Mans [I knew I could be champion] because when I won in Qatar and Argentina, the people said that the championship doesn’t begin until Jerez, until Europe. At Jerez I did a podium and also I won at Le Mans.

“At Le Mans I said, ‘OK, I’m also competitive in Europe, so I can maintain the distance between I think it was [Aron] Canet in that moment, or [Jorge] Martin’ - I don’t know.”

At the beginning of 2016, Mir arrived in the Moto3 class among a talented bunch of rookies that included former FIM Junior World Championship sparring partners Aron Canet, Nicolo Bulega and Bo Bendsneyder.

Riding a KTM, Mir started the year slowly, before rediscovering his form after the summer break. A debut win in Austria and further podiums at Misano and Valencia soon followed, suggesting he was one of a number of names that could fill the boots of departing champion Brad Binder.

And while KTM management were desperate to keep hold of their talent who had come through the ranks of their Red Bull Rookies Cup, Mir was desperate to switch to Honda machinery. It was his suggestion that led the Leopard squad to change equipment.

“I convinced the team [to change]! I didn’t enjoy it with the KTM. Finally, we fought for winning races at the end of last year [’16] but I didn’t feel comfortable in any race - because of the riding style. Also, I’m tall so the KTM is a little bit smaller and it was difficult. I said that I wanted a change because I didn’t enjoy. The team also thought that it was [an] interesting [idea].”

So did he immediately feel at home on the Honda when winter testing began in the late autumn of 2016? “No,” he insists. “When I first tried it I thought it was really good and the [riding] position was really comfortable. But the lap times – no, no lap times. We were a little bit worried. But then we changed something, put the correct set-up and then we had the first victory in Qatar.”

Mir graduates to Moto2 for 2018 with Marc VDS and his testing times have already been impressive. Working alongside new crew chief Pete Benson, who won world titles with Nicky Hayden [2006], Tito Rabat [2014] and Franco Morbidelli [2017], expect the Majorcan to be involved toward the front before too long.

Click here to read's full interview with Joan Mir.



Loading Comments...