Suzuki apologise as dashboard error sends Joan Mir into the pits

Suzuki apologise to Joan Mir after dashboard message wrongly sends him into the pits during Qualifying for the Misano MotoGP, 'doesn't care' when being followed by Marc Marquez.
Joan Mir, San Marino MotoGP, 18 September 2021
Joan Mir, San Marino MotoGP, 18 September 2021
© Gold and Goose

Reigning MotoGP champion Joan Mir had a qualifying session to forget at Misano on Saturday when he was mistakenly told to pit by a dashboard message on his Suzuki.

Immediately waved back out by his team for the final minutes, Mir's misery was then compounded by yellow flags due to a late fall by Fabio Quartararo.

All of which meant the Spaniard didn't improve on his opening qualifying run and will start eleventh on the grid.

"When I went out in Q2 there was a ‘Box’ message on the dash, all lap, so I decided to stop [but] it was just a wrong message and this conditioned all of the qualifying," Mir said. "I’m really disappointed but I know the team will understand what happened."

Pressed further he added: "It was a message that the team put on the bike, and didn’t realise it was there, but when you see ‘Box’ it is not like a message to say another rider is following you or something [which you can ignore], it means you need to go to the 'Box' [in case of a technical problem]!

"It was a shame, but I think also the team is disappointed with the mistake. Obviously I trust we will have a solution. Sometime I make mistakes and sometimes they can also."

Suzuki technical director Ken Kawauchi said: "We apologise to Joan, who received the wrong message on his dashboard, and that meant that he lost some laps".

Without the problem Mir felt he could have challenged for the second row, but instead faces another fight through the field on Sunday as he tries to take points back from front-row title rivals Quartararo and Francesco Bagnaia.

"It is not the first time I start in 11th! When you start in that position you can have the chance to make a super-job to finish on the podium, but the victory is always difficult," he said.

Mir is currently four points behind Aragon winner Bagnaia and 57 from Quartararo in the title chase.

Prior to qualifying, Mir had spent final practice with Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez glued to his rear wheel.

"Well about Marc, I think all the riders know what Marc needs, no? He always needs a wheel to be strong or something," Mir said, when asked if it bothers him to be followed by Marquez so much.

"It is difficult to understand for me how an eight-time world champion cannot make his job on his own and always needs some wheel [to follow].

"But it is a game that Marc always loves to play and that's it. Today was me. I try to make my job and I don’t care if I have someone on my back. I try to give my 100 percent and work for the race."

Marquez later followed Honda wild-card Stefan Bradl in a pre-planned move to advance from Qualifying 1 to Qualifying 2.

"We did a really good job [with Bradl]. It was my idea and he accepted. He just pushed in front and I was able to do a good lap time behind Bradl and pass like this to Qualifying 2," Marquez confirmed.

Marquez then said he had already spoken with Mir and seemed to be under the impression the Suzuki rider hadn't made any critical comments about being followed throughout FP4.

"About Mir, I already spoke with him and he said to me, 'don’t care what they [media] ask you, because I'm not [bothered] like they will say'. He said that it's normal that a slower rider tries to find a fast rider to follow somebody.

"It's something that is natural in motorbikes, always if you don’t disturb the other rider, of course."

Marquez will start in seventh place with Mir's team-mate Alex Rins in ninth.

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