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Joan Mir

Joan Mir
Country: 
Full Name: 
Joan Mir
Birth Date: 
1 September, 1997
Birth Place: 
Palma, Spain
Driver Status: 
Current

2
Championship Titles

104
Races
12
Wins
2
Poles
2
Titles

Joan Mir Biography

Former world champion Joan Mir will compete with Team Suzuki Ecstar for the 2022 MotoGP World Championship for what will be his fourth season with both the manufacturer and in the top flight.

The Spaniard caused a huge upset by emerging as the 2020 MotoGP title winner in what was only his fifth season of grand prix competition, his metronomic consistency ensuring his single victory was enough to succeed in a shortened campaign.

Joan Mir - Route to MotoGP

Catching the eye in his second Red Bull Rookies Cup campaign in 2014, Joan Mir finished runner-up to Jorge Martin which set up a move into the CEV Moto3 Junior World Championship for 2015. Despite an impressive start with four wins in the opening six races he faded as the campaign went on to slip to fourth place in the riders’ championship.

Mir made his Grand Prix debut in the 2015 Australian Moto3 race for Leopard Racing, filling in for the injured Hiroki Ono, but crashed out after clashing with John McPhee. But Mir’s 2015 efforts were enough to secure him a full-time ride in Moto3 with Leopard Racing and he stormed to fifth place in the riders’ standings as top rookie.

The Spaniard stuck with Leopard Racing for 2017 in Moto3 and a switch from KTM to Honda proved key as he dominated to the world title with 10 wins from 18 races – only failing to score points in Japan – and quickly drew comparisons to Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi for his title domination.

It paved the way to Moto2 with front-runners Marc VDS and once again Mir became the standout rookie by taking sixth place in the 2018 Moto2 riders’ standings. Mir’s fast adaption and unquestionable speed attracted the factory Suzuki MotoGP squad and he signed a two-year deal to replace Andrea Iannone at the Japanese squad.

Joan Mir in MotoGP

Suzuki (2019 - Present)

One of four rookie riders debuting in 2019, Mir came to MotoGP with Suzuki on the strength of winning the Moto3 world title in 2017 and showing encouraging form at Moto2 level.

It made him something of an unknown quantity on the big bikes and a true test of Suzuki's commitment to honing fresh talent at the highest level instead of setting lofty targets on the intermediate stage.

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Mir, Aragon MotoGP 2019

Showing solid, if unspectacular form initially, Mir nonetheless showed flashes of his potential with a run to the top six in only his seventh outing at Catalunya before a dramatic high-speed testing smash at Brno - which left parts of his bike hanging from the trees after it vaulted the barrier - forced him to miss two races.

On his return Mir got back to decent form, landing a maiden top five finish in Australia to end the year 12th overall ahead of fellow Moto23 graduates Pecco Bagnaia and Miguel Oliveira.

For 2020, Mir came into the year looking to build on that promise but few were looking his way for a potential title tilt in the absence of Marc Marquez. Indeed, two DNFs from the opening three races did nothing to highlight his potential but the paddock would be made to sit up and take notice in Rounds 4 and 5 in Austria when he scored a maiden podium in the former and should have won the latter but for an erroneously timed red flag leaving him vulnerable at the restart.

Nonetheless, these results would kick-start a number of eye-catching performances with a run of five podiums from the next six races, often achieved by strong late race charges that demonstrated both his and the Suzuki's abilities to protect its tyres.

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Joan Mir, MotoGP race, Valencia MotoGP 15 Novenber 2020

Together with inconsistent results around him, Mir suddenly found himself in the mix at the top of the standings and with three rounds to go rammed home the advantage with a first timely victory in Valencia, one that gave him a healthy lead overall. With two rounds remaining, Mir set up a match point in the second Valencia race and duly kicked home the winner.

A first premier class title for Suzuki since 2000, Mir remained with the manufacturer for 2021 with his sights set firmly on defending his crown.

Mir was adamant that he rode better in 2021 than during his title winning season, despite not winning a race. Indeed, not even leading a lap.

"I’m a bit angry because I know my potential this year," Mir said after his title chances evaporated at Misano. "I’m making less mistakes and I’m a better rider. And I will not get the championship. It’s difficult to understand."

The difficulty in assessing Mir's season is similar to that of Aleix Espargaro at Aprilia. With Suzuki only putting two bikes on the grid, and Mir's team-mate Alex Rins having a nightmare season in terms of race mistakes, there is no clear gauge to measure against.

On paper, the ten-place gulf between Mir and Rins in the final standings is a clear thrashing. But factor in that Rins was ahead of Mir on four of the six occasions that he crashed (and close behind at Mugello) and it's not quite so clear cut.

"Mir is making the strategy of last year, trying to finish all the races, but finishing all the races you win the world title once, not many times," Marc Marquez said in late May.

Whether Mir was indeed too conservative is debatable, but qualifying is the one area where Mir might feel he could have done better personally in 2021, having been outqualified by Rins 11 times in 17 rounds and with his team-mate giving the GSX-RR it's only laps in the lead.

But the bottom line is that Mir was the top Suzuki across the finish line in 13 races this season and also largely responsible for the factory's third place in the constructors' and teams' standings.

A winless season by a reigning champion hasn't been endured since Nicky Hayden in 2007 and Suzuki fielding the 'same bike' as last season - while rivals took a step forward despite the Covid technical freeze on engine development – soon became a source of frustration for Mir.

"A lot of manufacturers improved and we didn’t improve," Mir said at Catalunya in June. "Our bike is really good. We have a good base. But I have the same bike as last year.

"What does that mean? I’ve been two-tenths closer to pole position than here last year, but I was eighth last year and now I’m tenth.

"I’m a bit worried because I want to defend the title. And I think Suzuki also. But I think we can push a bit more, honestly… To bring more things."

The last factory to provide its riders with a rear ride-height device, after the summer break, Suzuki's anti-wheelie system was well received but ultimately didn't transform their fortunes.

Much will now be expected of the 2022 machine, especially with Mir likely to be among those weighing up multiple offers for his services in 2023.