After two tough MotoGP races in Austin and Misano, Suzuki rider Joan Mir looked close to his best on the opening day in Portimao.

The Spaniard was quick from the outset and able to keep pace with Fabio Quartararo and Francesco Bagnaia for parts of both sessions. 

Although the top two in the championship seemed to have a small step on the rest, Mir wasn’t far behind as he finished fourth overall. 

"I’m quite happy about this day. We straight away felt quite ok with the bike. This made the day easier than normal," said Mir.

"I’m happy, first day done. Let’s move to tomorrow and see what happens. Let’s try to qualify the best we can. We’ll try to focus on that 2nd row, or who knows? Let’s see."  

Mir is desperately in need of a good performance after no top five finishes since Aragon.

In fact, the last two rounds were so tough that he felt ‘mentally a bit collapsed’ and needed a full week off.

Speaking about his recent struggles, Mir added: "It’s difficult. It’s difficult because I remember after Misano I stayed one week off because I needed it to take again good batteries. 

"For you (media), it may sound normal to have one week off. But for me it’s a long time since I stayed off training and off motorbikes. 

"It’s like this. From December last year I didn’t stay out of training for more than one week. So it’s because I needed it. 

"I was mentally a bit collapsed after two such difficult GPs in a row. After that break and coming back here and being competitive is fine. 

"It’s only the first day. I feel fine and fully charged to make a good weekend. And motivated, which is the important thing."

Mir, who is still in with a chance of taking second in the championship, albeit very unlikely given Bagnaia’s current form, it’s worrying too much about that possibility even though I’ll be more confident’ if it happens.  

Mir said: "As a rider I have to finish the season with the best performance possible. Now I’m focussed on these two races to do the best I can. 

"If it’s enough to overtake Pecco [Bagnaia] in the standings then great. We have to be realistic. Pecco is doing a good end of season and is the strongest one at the moment. 

"It’ll be difficult. But if I can finish the season with two good results, I’ll be more confident."