Suzuki Ecstar team manager Davide Brivio says Joan Mir’s injury absence midway through his rookie MotoGP campaign meant the youngster had to “start again when he came back” as he assessed his maiden premier class year.

Mir missed out on the top rookie status due to the stunning year produced by Fabio Quartararo at Petronas Yamaha but comfortably finished 12th overall in the riders’ standings in his first MotoGP season.

After a shaky start with just one points finish from the opening five rounds, eighth place in Qatar, Mir began to discover the level in MotoGP which came to fruition with a hat-trick of top eight finishes in the final three races before the summer break.

Looking to build on that momentum, Mir’s start to the second half of the year was stalled by a nasty crash at Brno during the post-Czech Republic Grand Prix test. An investigation into the incident confirmed the Majorcan suffered a technical issue at 120mph with his Suzuki GSX-RR coming into Brno’s first corner.

Mir suffered heavy bruising to his lungs and upper body which forced him out of the following two races in Austria and Great Britain.

Brivio feels the painful crash halted the MotoGP rookie’s progress which meant he needed more time to rediscover his former pace.

“It was a real pity for him, because we were at a point in the season where he was on an upward curve and finding lots of useful settings,” Brivio said. “The injury cut that short and we were forced to start again when he came back.

“However, when he returned he was noticeably stronger and more determined, and that was great to see. He was able to end the season in a positive way with good results.”

Mir duly produced his best races towards the end of the season, notably fifth place at Phillip Island as Suzuki team-mate Alex Rins struggled down in ninth place, which left his team content with his development in his maiden year and are eager to see him build on it going into 2020.

“His debut year has been very positive, and impressive,” Brivio added. “It was in line with our expectations based on what we knew of him and our previous experience running rookie riders.

“He’s had his ‘learning year’, and next season we will see his true potential.”

Mir’s current Suzuki contract expires at the end of 2020, along with almost all of the MotoGP grid, but initial signs show the Hamamatsu factory are keen to retain the 22-year-old.

 

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