Reigning MotoGP champion Joan Mir is facing his second Qualifying 1 appearance in as many weekends after a strategy error left him outside the top ten in Friday practice for the Doha Grand Prix.

Last weekend, no rider was able to better their night FP2 lap in the afternoon heat of FP3, meaning tomorrow's combined top ten is already likely to have been decided.

Mir is thus set to do battle with the likes of Yamaha's Valentino Rossi, plus the Hondas of Alex Marquez, Takaaki Nakagami and Pol Espargaro to try again claim one of the top two places in Q1.

"My feeling is good but we completely missed the strategy," Mir said.

The Suzuki star explained that the Michelin tyre allocation given to all riders this weekend includes a number of new tyres that were pre-heated last weekend.

This heat cycle (heating and allowing to cool, then heating again) reduces the ultimate performance of the tyre compared to a normal new tyre being heated for the first time this weekend.

"During these days we have to use the pre-heated tyres from the other Grand Prix, and these tyres don't perform in the same way as a brand new one. Everyone knows this, and we just save the good ones for last," Mir said. "It's a problem we all have. Not only me."

As Mir indicated, all riders have been given two of the pre-heated new tyres, in each compound. The Spaniard's strategy problem was that he didn't get time for a second lap on the 'brand new' soft.

"In FP2, when we put the tyres that were not preheated, I only got one lap, I wasn't able to make the second one because we ran out of time," Mir explained. "So we missed the strategy and we cannot miss it.

"We don't have the package to get easily into Q2, and if we miss something then we are out. We missed Q2 by less one tenth probably, and I'm sure that in the second lap I could have improved my lap time.

"For some reason, they showed me 'box' to change the tyre and I came in, but then I didn't have time. They called me into the box late. This was the problem.

"Inside the team we didn't make the correct strategy today and I'm not happy, because it's really difficult to make good lap times with the package that we have at the moment, and every detail here counts a lot."

While Mir, classified 13th, is sure he could have gone faster had he got the second lap in, he knows that improving his time in the afternoon heat will be all but impossible.

"We have margin to improve because I could only make one lap with the good tyres, because the other one was preheated. So the margin that I have is that," he said.

"But I'm struggling more than ever to make a lap time. The harder I try the worse it is. Everyone is improving a lot their bikes, I see a very high level of bikes, and we have to continue improving our bike. So I'm not happy about today.

"It will be hard to go through to Q2, but if not we will have to take risks as always in the first laps of the race."

After being second fastest in Qualifying 1 last weekend, Mir went on to qualify in tenth place. He then fought his way up to second on the last lap, only to be passed by two Ducatis on the run to the finish line.

Team-mate Alex Rins was eighth fastest on Friday.

 

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