Joan Mir believes Ducati and Yamaha’s slightly underwhelming performance at the Sepang MotoGP test isn’t indicative of their real pace. 

The 2020 world champion finished the opening pre-season test just outside the top ten after failing to complete a representative qualifying run. However, with team-mate Alex Rins less than +0.130s off top spot on both days, Suzuki’s potential was very apparent. 

The new engine was a big reason for the increased performance, which Mir himself described a ‘step forward’ compared to last season.

"Overall I’m really happy about the last two days here," added Mir. "The bike is working well and my feeling is good. Today felt better than yesterday but we couldn’t put it all together to push for a lap time, anyway, our pace is strong. 

"I understood the potential of the new bike and the new engine and I have no complaints. 

"Both Alex and I feel that we’ve made a step forward, and that’s an important thing. I’m really excited and interested to go to Mandalika next week – the fans there are so supportive and kind, and I’m waiting to discover the track!"

With Mir finishing the 2021 season winless and often struggling to keep pace with Yamaha and Ducati, improvements to the GSX-RR’ power will be a welcomed addition given it remains one of the better bikes mid-corner. 

Although Mir finished behind Fabio Quartararo and Francesco Bagnaia at the Malaysian test - the two riders that also finished ahead of him last season and are expected to be the main title contenders again in 2022 -  both men had a slightly tougher time of it. 

All Ducati riders who were aboard the new GP22 bike, a machine that has a completely new engine, electronics, fairing, exhaust and front ride height device for this year, struggled particularly for rear grip.

Bagnaia could only manage 19th on day-one, while Quartararo was sixth and nearly seven tenths away from Aleix Espargaro’s top time. 

The Italian made big steps forward on day-two by finishing sixth +0.134s down on Enea Bastianini, however, signs point to the 22 bike not quite being where it needs to be with just under a month to go until round one in Qatar. 

But with that said, Mir remains highly sceptical that Ducati and Yamaha are struggling: "If the others are struggling, it’s important to be strong, yeah. But I have my doubts about the struggles of them, eh. I have my doubts!

"Everyone wants to start well, first race everyone is super excited. It’s important to manage the situation well. To give 100%, make no mistakes and score points."