Largely affected by a lack of top speed and qualifying performance in 2021, Joan Mir believes those are problems of the past after finishing day-one of the Qatar MotoGP in third place. 

In fact, Mir claims Suzuki’s much improved top speed has given them at least two tenths, while also making it easier to defend on the straights.

Although Mir is still not relaxed by the team’s apparent gains, the 2020 world champion is clearly buoyed by the situation he finds himself in.

"Well, I’m never really relaxed. I think I’m always asking for more and this is always part of my character,” said Mir. “But it’s the first step to make a great season. 

"This gives you confidence because we clearly improved the top speed and we will not have all the troubles in this area of last year that was really difficult. 

"Like this we can defend better on the straights. This is the first step. Then, obviously we had to improve on the qualifying, this was another weak point. 

"With all the work that we did last year, with all the work we did on the test and a little bit more power, this makes our life a bit more easy. We are able to make a faster lap time, so yeah, really happy."

Part of Suzuki’s MotoGP DNA has always been about focusing on race performance, which has often come at a cost with regards to qualifying. 

But with the improved engine solving part of the problem according to Mir, along with gains that have seemingly been made to the GSX-RR’ acceleration, Mir could be in a position where he doesn’t have to rely so heavily on his race pace as was the case in both 2020 and last year. 

Mir added: "Qualifying is really important and was our weak point. For sure we improved last year, so with this plus of the new engine which gives you a couple more tenths that are really important. 

"We were missing a lot of acceleration that with the device (Holeshot) we are now able to be in the same conditions as our opponents. This is really important."

Mir’s impressive performance throughout day-one was backed-up by team-mate Alex Rins who finished quickest from Marc Marquez.