Joan Mir: ‘I felt like I had more than Quartararo, tyres then dropped a lot’

Joan Mir looked set for 11th place at the Qatar MotoGP before running into tyre wear issues late on.

Fabio Quartararo, Joan Mir, MotoGP race, Qatar MotoGP, 10 March
Fabio Quartararo, Joan Mir, MotoGP race, Qatar MotoGP, 10 March

Joan Mir had good pace aboard the RC213V for much of the grand prix before running into trouble later on at the MotoGP season-opener.

Mir was part of a train of riders battling for 11th spot, and after overtaking Fabio Quartararo for said 11th place, the Spaniard managed to stretch out a gap of one second.

But Mir used too much tyre in the process which cost him places to Quartararo and Johann Zarco.

“We made a great race, honestly,” said Mir. “I started well and recovered a lot of positions straight away.

“It’s been a long time since I was able to enjoy riding like that, so that is really positive. Starting at the back isn’t easy, but we made good ground to be with Fabio for most of the race. 

“In the last five laps I felt like I had a little bit more than Quartararo, so I overtook him and made a gap of one second.

“Then in the last two laps we dropped a lot, and we lost some positions, which isn’t ideal. But still we are pleased with everything we have done and always learning.”

While Mir showed Honda’s improvements, Luca Marini endured a very difficult first race as he finished nearly 18 seconds down on Takaaki Nakagami, who was directly ahead of him.

Marini said: “It’s encouraging to see the other Honda riders, and especially Mir, fighting for good positions. 

“For us, it has been a continuation of our weekend today and we had a small issue which limited us in the race.

“I was able to understand a lot of things during the race which was very important, especially when I realised Miller was behind – I let him pass to study a little bit of what he was doing. 

“I think this will help us to understand more and more, to take some positives. We need time to keep trying things and getting more comfortable.”

Top Honda goes to Zarco

Not a debut after taking part in three races for Honda in 2019, Zarco finished 12th on his official return to LCR.

The Fastest Honda rider in qualifying Zarco faded in the sprint but managed to perform better in the longer grand prix.

“Today’s 12th position is proof that we’ve got potential,” stated the former Ducati rider. “I’ve had fun during the race and being there in the fight means we can do a good job this season.

“Many thanks to the team for its work throughout the weekend; I know that step by step, we’ll reach our goals.”

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