Not even Joan Mir, grand prix racing’s hottest prospect, could have envisioned of success he enjoyed in 2017. The 20-year old Mallorcan racked up ten victories, the Moto3 world title and secured a ride with Moto2’s most decorated team for the coming year across nine glorious months that earmarked him as a future challenger in MotoGP.

Crash.net sat down with Mir before his final Moto3 outing at Valencia to discuss his beginnings in the sport, his reasons for switching to Honda machinery for 2017 and judging those frantic, multi-rider last lap battles to perfection.

Crash.net:
Has your recent success sunk in?

Joan Mir:
Yes. Now I think that I believe it!

Crash.net:
How have the weeks since Phillip Island been for you?

Joan Mir:
Totally crazy. A lot of interviews. A lot of compromises and a lot of things to do. Things that if you are not world champion you don’t have to do them! But yes, it’s part of the success.

Crash.net:
There was a big celebration in Mallorca when you got home from the Malaysian Grand Prix. I imagine that was a special moment…

Joan Mir:
It was really good because my people were there. We made an exhibition with supermotos. A lot of people came, like Julito Simon. It was really good to celebrate with my people and I’m really happy for them also.

Crash.net:
To go back to the start of your career, are you from a motorcycle family?

Joan Mir:
Not so much. Yes, it’s true that my uncle practiced motocross and my other uncle did a lot of jet skiing – all of these types of things. But it was not a family crazy for the motorbikes. It was just me! My father had a skateboard shop so it’s curious.

Crash.net:
So you never had ambitions of being Tony Hawk?

Joan Mir:
No, never. I like it a lot but it’s not my place.

Crash.net:
How did you start competing with motorbikes?

Joan Mir:
I started with the little bikes, the mini-bikes. Then with a Kawasaki 65 minimoto. Then with a metra-kit and all of these [kinds of bikes].

Crash.net:
You attended the school of Jorge Lorenzo’s father…

Joan Mir:
Yes, I stayed there for one year or maybe two. It wasn’t so long. It was my beginnings with my father. He taught me the base of the motorbike. But I never trained with Jorge.

Crash.net:
What kind of things did Chicho Lorenzo teach you?

Joan Mir:
No, he taught me the braking, the throttle and a little bit the position when I was nine years old. But the men that helped me to improve my riding style and everything was Dani Vadillo, my current trainer.

Crash.net:
How did you meet Dani?

Joan Mir:
He was a friend of the family and a trainer of the federation there in Mallorca. We connected really good and I said to my father that I wanted a trainer. So they contracted Dani.

Crash.net:
I’ve seen some fairly spectacular videos of you aboard a supermotard bike. Has this always been a method of training?

Joan Mir:
This year [2017] I didn’t train with a supermoto. I trained with a bike similar to a Moto3 – something like this. Now I have started to train for the Moto2. It’s important, the slides and all of this. So I’ve already started.

Crash.net:
Did you stop training with the Supermoto because you have to be smoother with a Moto3 machine?

Joan Mir:
Yes. And now I’ve started again!

Crash.net:
Did 2017 surprise you? Did you expect to have as much success as you enjoyed?

Joan Mir:
No, not like this. 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.

Crash.net:
You started life in Moto3 in 2016 using KTM machinery. What convinced you the Honda would be a better choice?

Joan Mir:
I convinced the team! 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. I said that I wanted a change because I didn’t enjoy. The team also thought that it was [an] interesting [idea].

Crash.net:
Did you feel that way because of your riding style?

Joan Mir:
Yes, because of the riding style. Also, I’m tall so the KTM is a little bit smaller and it was difficult.

Crash.net:
When you first tried the Honda testing at the end of ‘16, did you feel like it was the bike for you?

Joan Mir:
No! 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.

Crash.net:
We saw in many races last year you winning races in tight last-lap battles. More often than not, your tactics were spot on. Did you do any special training to prepare yourself for last lap fights?

Joan Mir:
No. I think that it’s something you cannot train for. It’s impossible, no? It’s natural. It’s instinct, yes, and studying my rivals a little bit. And that’s it.

Crash.net:
Was there one moment in particular when you really thought you could be champion?

Joan Mir:
I think when I won in Le Mans 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.

Crash.net:
And the French Grand Prix was your first dominant win in grand prix too…

Joan Mir:
Yes.

Crash.net:
Did you have many offers to move to Moto2 after early in the season?

Joan Mir:
Well, it’s normal, no? When you are world champion everybody wants you. I think that Marc VDS was the best one. It’s one of the best teams with a good team-mate and good preparation for maybe [a ride in] MotoGP.

Crash.net:
After the race at Assen, where you lost eight positions on the final part of the last lap, you said that you wouldn’t make that mistake again. Was that a big lesson for you?

Joan Mir:
Yeah, I learnt! 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.

Crash.net:
How do you view your rivals from 2017? Did you expect Romano Fenati to be your biggest challenger?

Joan Mir:
Well, my main rivals were Fenati, of course. But I think finally Canet was not my rival because he was very irregular. Maybe he did one race good but then one bad. I think Martin was really constant. Fenati and Martin this year were the main rivals. And at the beginning McPhee also.

Crash.net:
We saw Fenati attempt to follow you at the end of qualifying several times this year. It seemed he was almost attempting to play games with you. Do you pay particular attention to this as they rarely seemed to affect you.

Joan Mir:
I try not to pay attention to this kind of things. It’s normal that when you’re faster than him, or one rider, they want to get in behind and make a lap time too. I don’t pay attention if it’s Fenati or [Patrik] Pulkkinen, I don’t care.

Crash.net:
What is your expectation for your debut year in Moto2?

Joan Mir:
My expectations? I don’t know. On paper, I have to be good! It’s really difficult to say. I want to enjoy it, that’s the main thing. I want to enjoy riding the Moto2, to try to do it better day-by-day.

Crash.net:
You had the chance to equal Valentino Rossi’s record for the most wins in a junior class season (eleven). Do you pay attention to things like this?

Joan Mir:
When you have the championship closed, so if I win it will be incredible. But if I don’t win, it is also incredible. I don’t care. I don’t have pressure. If I can, I will try to win, but if I don’t I will sleep very well on Sunday night [laughs].

Crash.net:
One final thing: will you have the chance to relax this winter?

Joan Mir:
It will be a little bit of relaxing, staying with the family. It’s important I think, because during the season it’s really intense. You have to disconnect a little bit.

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He has 0 weaknesses. Still hope Fenati beats him in Moto2 but what are the chances. I want to see Fenati overtake people on his second wide line that only he can use. Mir is a bit boring, I mean he is perfect - there isn't much more to say about him.

(At 9 he had trainers. How do other countries complete with that? There is the new British whatever it is - but how does that compete?)

Fenati has experience rode in Moto2 before but he's not in one of the top four Moto2 teams. Whereas Mir is in one of the best teams Marc VDS that won the riders title last year, is a rookie and will take him time to adapt. A good rookie year would be finishing five or six in the championship standings as Oliveira, Binder, Bagnaia, Alex Marquez in that order are the favourites.

As for no weaknesses every rider has weakness even Marc Marquez, Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo etc. Mir is a talent but one of his weaknesses last year was qualifying, he only got one pole position and regularly qualified outside the top three. Got away with it in Moto3 as its easier to make up places with high slipstream, in Moto2 not so easy, he will have to up his game qualify better.