Mir: Yamaha? At Suzuki, more power made other weak points...

If Joan Mir and Alex Rins had repeated their 2022 Suzuki MotoGP lap times at Le Mans, they would have qualified fourth and fifth on this year's French Grand Prix grid.
Suzuki MotoGP bike, Jerez MotoGP test, 18 November
Suzuki MotoGP bike, Jerez MotoGP test, 18 November

Instead, the pair lapped +0.867s (Mir) and +0.982s (Rins) slower on their new Honda machinery, for 16th and 18th places.

For perspective, Ducati Francesco Bagnaia, on pole position this year and last, was 0.255s slower in 2023.

Mir raised the lap time comparison when asked if he had any explanation why Yamaha - now the only manufacturer using an Inline4 configuration after Suzuki’s MotoGP withdraw - is suffering so much despite improving its engine performance for 2023.

Remote video URL

Yamaha’s former world champion Fabio Quartararo was 0.687s slower in qualifying at Le Mans than he had been in 2022, causing him to drop from 4th to 13th on the grid.

The Frenchman’s race time over the same 27 laps was also 14s slower than last year, on a day when Marco Bezzecchi’s winning time was only 3.4s slower than Enea Bastianini's in 2022.

“I know the lap time I did last year with the Suzuki and I’m one second slower," Mir said.

“The Yamaha, I don't know [why they are slower]. When you make the engine more powerful, maybe you [lose in] some other areas.

“It happened with us with the Suzuki, from one year to the other we improved the top speed, but then we struggled to stop the bike.

“Normally nowadays with this equality of bikes, when you improve one part, you make another weak point.”

Quartararo, leading the world championship after round five last season, is only ninth in the 2023 standings (now including sprint races).

Fellow former champion Mir has dropped from ninth a year ago to just 21st in the standings, with Rins slipping from fourth to tenth despite a Honda victory at COTA.

Read More