Joan Mir: ‘More potential’ at Portimao | Luca Marini ‘curious to see how the Honda goes’

Joan Mir: 'I am confident that we can do more in Portugal. It’s a track that I enjoy and I think we have more potential there.'

Joan Mir, MotoGP, Qatar MotoGP, 8 March
Joan Mir, MotoGP, Qatar MotoGP, 8 March

Outside the top ten in Qatar, Joan Mir heads for round two of the 2024 MotoGP season in Portimao “confident that we can do more”.

The former Suzuki world champion, starting his second season on the RC213V, took 15th – and top Honda - in the Lusail Sprint before narrowly losing out to Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo and LCR’s Johann Zarco for top Japanese bike honours with 13th in the grand prix.

But Portimao will literally be a night and day difference and the 26-year-old Spaniard expects a stronger weekend.

“I am looking forward to getting back on the bike and continuing the job we started in Qatar,” said Mir, now working with Marc Marquez's ex-crew headed by Santi Hernandez.

“There’s a lot of work to do, but after starting well at a track that is not the best for us, I am confident that we can do more in Portugal.

“It’s a track that I enjoy and I think we have more potential there. Ready to work, ready to make progress and ready to have another positive weekend on the Honda RC213V.”

Asked about expectations after round one, Mir said: "Last year we had the same package all the year and honestly this was mentally very difficult to manage. This year I expect a change. Now I see this change and I hope that they [Honda] continue in this mode."

Luca Marini, MotoGP, Qatar MotoGP, 10 March
Luca Marini, MotoGP, Qatar MotoGP, 10 March

New team-mate Luca Marini endured a sobering Repsol Honda debut in Qatar, qualifying 21st, finishing last in the Sprint and ahead of only Jack Miller (who crashed and remounted) in the Grand Prix.

“The best thing we can do at the moment is keep riding, so of course it’s great to be heading to Portugal and Portimao,” said the Italian. “It’s a track which is very different to where we have started the year so I am curious to see how the Honda goes there.

“We're in the process of developing the bike, working with Honda, gathering information at different tracks to improve. Our objective is to find a better feeling with the bike in order to be more competitive.”

"This is just the first race, we need to be realistic and calm," Marini had said in Qatar. "I think that Joan and Johann did a good race. We need to know that our starting point is really behind, and everybody is really pushing a lot in the front to develop their bikes a lot every year. 

"So we need to 'run' back to the top, but this is not easy. It's a process that needs time, so we just need to stay calm, and try to make a step forward every time. This race I could understand many things, so this is important. Better than making 16th but not understanding anything. Because [for both scenarios] the points at the end are zero."

Free practice at Portimao begins on Friday morning.

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