'Clear evolution' not enough for Mir, where do Suzuki go from here?

Despite more top speed and an overall easier bike to ride according to Joan Mir, the 2020 MotoGP world champion was unable to deliver for Suzuki in Qatar.
Joan Mir, Qatar MotoGP race, 6 March 2022
Joan Mir, Qatar MotoGP race, 6 March 2022
© Gold and Goose

In what looked like a repeat of many MotoGP races from 2021, Joan Mir was unable to battle for victory despite being a pre-race favourite. 

Prior to Sunday's race Mir and team-mate Alex Rins looked to have the best race pace of anyone, however, a difficult qualifying session, not for the first time, left the pair in eighth and tenth. 

Following a brilliant start which saw Mir gain four places on the opening lap, the Suzuki rider failed to advance any further, instead losing two places come the end of the race. 

Speaking after Friday practice, Mir was convinced the team was in a better position despite the 2022 GSX-RR not being a 'revolution', just and 'evolution' of last season's package. 

Mir said: "They (Honda, Ducati) changed completely the engine. In our case it was not like this. The character of the bike is the same. 

"Now we just have a little bit more on top and this doesn’t make our life more difficult on the change of direction or in the middle of the corners because the power delivery is really similar. 

"Like I said, it was not a revolution but it was a clear evolution, especially on the high rpm’s. 

"Also we are using the device (holeshot) that before we were not. It’s not that before we were so far. 

"Last year we could see it was really difficult here, but for sure last if we had the device; it’s not that we made a huge step, we just improved the top speed." 

To Mir's point, Suzuki's top speed gains over the pre-season have been mightily impressive as they ended day-one at Lusail quickest with a recorded speed of 355.7kmph. 

So while improvements have clearly been made, Honda, KTM and Aprilia all seemed to take even bigger steps forward based on the outcome in Qatar. 

Where does this leave Suzuki then… well the Japanese manufacturer appears to have a bike that does everything well, such as handling, turning, braking and acceleration, therefore one that can certainly win races.

But in order to avoid stressing tyres too much, or leaving themselves with too much to do in terms of overtaking, a better qualifying performance in Indonesia would go a long way. 

It also remains to be seen if their lack of race pace at the end of the Qatar GP, something that's always been a strength of Mir's and Suzuki's, was a one-off or whether more power from the engine has made it more difficult to keep tyre life intact.

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