Honda’s Joan Mir: “I’m surprised - I came here with low expectations…”

Joan Mir is pleasantly surprised with Honda's development in Qatar

Joan Mir, Qatar MotoGP test, 19 February
Joan Mir, Qatar MotoGP test, 19 February

Joan Mir still remembers, a year ago, the Qatar test which set the tone for a disastrous MotoGP season.

The 2020 MotoGP champion endured a year to forget with Repsol Honda but the tide may finally be turning, albeit slowly.

Mir admits he still harboured ill feeling towards the Qatar test after last year’s experience but ended the first day pleased with his bike’s progress.

“Well, honestly, I felt quite good,” Mir said. “I am happy about the day.

“We were able to be, straight away, quite fast. “Especially in race pace with the used tyres.

“I was comfortable. I came with low expectations.

“Last year it was very, very difficult to stay on the bike.

“I was surprised. We have taken the correct steps forward.

“We are in a long process but we are doing the correct steps to arrive on top.”

Joan Mir, Qatar MotoGP test, 19 February
Joan Mir, Qatar MotoGP test, 19 February

Luca Marini, Mir’s new Repsol Honda teammate who has replaced Marc Marquez, was also complimentary about their ‘24 bike but he warned that other manufacturers were taking similarly large steps forward.

Mir, on Monday at the Qatar test, was 13th-fastest.

He detailed Honda’s development through preseason: “The potential here, or in Sepang, was similar. It’s the same bike.

“It’s true that, every time, I know this bike more. I’m closer to the limit.

“I am especially happy because we improved the aerodynamics a little bit.

“When you improve one thing a little bit in MotoGP, you have to be happy.

“Then, the day was about putting the electronics on point for the new aero.

“It will be important to work on the details. It’s a new bike. It’s part of the new process.”

MotoGP riders will test again in Qatar on Tuesday before the first round of the 2024 season, in the same location, on March 8.

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