Joan Mir picks his MotoGP title favourite: ‘One rider has something more’

Both Fabio Quartararo and Francesco Bagnaia 'deserve' the 2022 MotoGP title, but it is now probably Bagnaia’s to lose.
Francesco Bagnaia , Fabio Quartararo, Thailand MotoGP. 29 September
Francesco Bagnaia , Fabio Quartararo, Thailand MotoGP. 29 September

That’s the view of Suzuki’s 2020 world champion Joan Mir, returning to action from ankle injuries at Phillip Island this weekend, for the first of three rounds that will decide this year’s title.

Ducati’s Bagnaia arrives in Australia just two points behind Yamaha’s reigning champion Fabio Quartararo after taking four wins and six podiums from the last seven rounds.

By contrast Quartararo, who took three wins earlier in the season, has made only one rostrum appearance since the summer break.

“I see that from the last part of the championship, the fastest is Pecco and he's in a really good moment now,“ said Mir.

“He was able to recover a lot of points and when you are in that moment, the only one that can lose the championship probably is yourself. Because you have something more. I see it a bit like this now.

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“It will be interesting in these three races to understand who will be the winner… Both deserve this championship. I cannot say one. But from now, I think that Pecco has something more for these three races.”

Still within 20-points of Quartararo is Aleix Espargaro, but Mir feels it will take mistakes from the others to allow the Aprilia rider to pull off a shock title triumph.

“Aleix is always there. He's doing a really good job. But if Aleix wins my impression [is that it] will be for consistency, for the mind, for everything. I think that at the moment, on track, Fabio and Pecco are in a better shape.”

Morbidelli: Momentum with Bagnaia, but...

Quartararo's Monster Yamaha team-mate Franco Morbidelli also admitted it looks like a tough task for the young Frenchman to hold off Bagnaia in the remaining rounds.

"Speaking as a MotoGP fan then yes, it seems the momentum is more towards the Ducati and more towards Pecco but also Jack is in play," Morbidelli said. "But you never know in sport, you never know in MotoGP and this is the beauty of it."

Meanwhile, another team-mate of a title contender, Maverick Vinales, said : "It's difficult to have any prediction because still there are five guys that can win the title. So a lot can happen.

"I think the best way I can help Aprilia is by being at the front, trying to fight for the race [wins] and in case of course I need to help Aleix, I will do it. This is no question, because I will help Aprilia. But I think our mission is to be at the front, fighting and then we will see."

Joan Mir, MotoGP, Aragon MotoGP, 17 September
Joan Mir, MotoGP, Aragon MotoGP, 17 September

Mir: ‘Perfect’ to fight for Suzuki farewell podium at Valencia

Mir has missed the last four races due to ankle damage sustained in a huge opening lap highside in Austria. The Spaniard had tried to return at Aragon, but was forced to step back and continue his recovery.

“The ankle is in a lot better position than it was in Aragon. The fracture is consolidated,” he said. “Now the ligaments are getting better but the important thing is to be able to ride 100%.

“I think that I will be able to do it without thinking so much about the ankle. Because I don't have pain at the moment.

“I rode at a karting [track] with a 600 and I was able to control the foot, that in Aragon was not possible. So I’m in in a lot better position.”

Without a rostrum so far during Suzuki’s final MotoGP season, Mir said his first target is, “to get back a bit the confidence. Four races out is a lot of time.

“I want to finish this period with Suzuki in the best way possible. I know that it will be really difficult to be back and straight away to be fighting for the podium, but the important thing is to finish every time in a better position and with a better feeling to try to be 100% ready in Valencia.

“Then to make the last race fighting for the podium would be perfect. The ideal thing.”

Mir will then start the next chapter in his MotoGP career, at Repsol Honda, at the Valencia post-race test.

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