Mir and the GSX-RR were renowned for fighting their way through the field during that Covid-delayed campaign, particularly in the closing stages of a race.

But the quality faded in 2021, then took a further dive in this year's Qatar season opener, when Mir was left openly disappointed at rear grip issues in the final stages.

By contrast Termas, the first dry race since Qatar, saw Mir climb from eighth on the grid to finish half-a-second from Rins and the rostrum, setting the second fastest lap behind winner Aleix Espargaro in the process.

"It was great," Mir said. "We took some positive things from this race, especially the good performance in the last part. I got a bit back the feelings that made me strong in 2020. Being strong on the last laps was something we were missing a little bit.

"I was disappointed in Qatar because I expected more," he admitted. "This character that I have as a rider and also the bike was helping me with in 2020 - to keep coming back in the last laps and control the throttle - we didn’t have in 2021 and also in Qatar.

"Expectations were high, but we didn’t have grip and you cannot control. Here the grip was better but we are still a bit far, especially on the first touch of throttle where I make the bike spin too much and it never comes back.

"But some positive things from this race. That’s why I’m happy. The position is not extraordinary but for the feeling I am happy. We were the strongest in one moment [at the end of the race], so, good."

Mir's podium hopes weren't helped by an early clash with Takaaki Nakagami.

"It was a bit of a shame in the first laps, Nakagami kicked me out on the second corner!" Mir said. "Then I managed to overtake him, Fabio and Marini and close the gap to Pol [who fell on lap 15].

"I was coming from the back. The performance was good but these manoeuvres penalised me. Honestly, I think we can be happy. We were one of the strongest."

'Humble results but we mustn’t panic'

Mir is one of several big names - alongside the likes of Francesco Bagnaia, Jack Miller and Marc Marquez - not included in MotoGP's nine different podium finishers already this season.

But Mir is the only rider to have scored double-digit points (sixth place or higher) in all three opening events and arrives in COTA this weekend holding sixth in the world championship, 12 points from Espargaro.

"We are doing some humble results at the moment but we are in the right way and this is important. We mustn’t panic and arrive in Europe with the bike and everything on-point and then the championship starts there," Mir said.

"In MotoGP the constancy is really important. Like with the Ducatis; there are some riders that are really strong in one race and another is strong in another. If we are always there then it will be important."

Suzuki has made no secret about wanting to keep Mir and Rins for 2023, but so far no deals have been announced.

"About my contract, we still have no news yet, but I expect to say something about my future soon," said Mir, a Suzuki rider since arriving in MotoGP in 2019.