After a strong rookie season with some tough experiences thrown in the mix, Joan Mir (Mallorca), finished the 2019 season in good shape, fighting frequently with the top riders in the category. Looking ahead to next season, he already knows the key points to improve his performance, and is ready to get the best out of himself and his Suzuki GSX-RR.
How would you describe your experience of joining Team SUZUKI ECSTAR?
It’s been really nice. Even in this debut year they became like my second family, and this is something which is really rare, especially when you feel it in the first year with a team.
Let’s make a summary of the 2019 season, how would you rate your rookie year?
I would give myself a decent rating, because even though I had to go through some difficult moments and injuries, in the end I still managed a good season. So I would say 8 out of 10.
What was the most important lesson you learnt in 2019?
The most important thing I learnt, apart from riding skills, was how to recover after bad moments such as the injury I suffered. When you have an injury and you have to stay positive and come back as quickly possible, this is something makes you grow. I learnt a lot about myself whilst trying to get ready to come back to the races.
Which aspect of the bike was the hardest to learn? Electronics, braking…?
Th electronics side is the most difficult thing you have to master. I had never tried a bike with such advanced electronics, so it was the most complicated thing to learn about my MotoGP machine. You need some time to adapt and you also need experience. This is something you don’t learn about just through talking or reading or hearing explanations, you need to practice and practice, try it all a lot of times, and work closely with your engineers…
By the end of the year, did you feel you had got to know your bike?
Yes, of course. The bike is really nice, and every time I ride it the feeling is better and better. Each time I’m getting more used to the GSX-RR, and the GSX-RR is getting more used to me!
Can you name a strong point of the bike that you’d like to improve on further?
The chassis and the way the bike turns is really good, especially in fast corners. It feels great. But nevertheless, we need to continue working on the chassis.
And an area of the bike which needs the most work?
The engine is an important thing that we need to improve, and it seems with the new 2020 spec. we are making a good step forward. Apart from this we need to improve our performances in the qualifying sessions, and to help us in overtaking we need some more power as well.
The most important thing I learnt in MotoGP, apart from riding skills, was how to recover after bad moments such as the injury I suffered and you have to stay positive and come back as quickly possible
What is the toughest thing to improve on in MotoGP?
The tyres I would say. At some tracks the temperatures are really critical, and this means that they are difficult to manage sometimes, especially for me in cold temperatures. But as I’ve begun to build up experience I’ve found ways to get the best out of them.
What impressed you the most about MotoGP?
The power of the bike, without doubt! It is unbelievable.
The second part of the season was better for you in terms of results. Are you disappointed to miss out on the podium, or satisfied with your finishes?
Of course it was a shame not to get a podium, but the injury I suffered did set my season back quite a bit. The bike was really good at Silverstone and I couldn’t be there because I was injured. But I’m very focused on the 2020 season…
Could you tell us your best moment of the season?
For me it would be the last few races. They were all very good for me in terms of my feeling with the bike, and it means I wnet into the winter break in good shape and feeling positive, this is very nice for me.
Is there any particular rider who impressed you this year with his riding style, performance or results?
It has to be Marc (Márquez). He is the one who is winning at the moment, and he did a fantastic season - always in 1st or 2nd place, and that is really difficult to do! We will try to be as close as possible to him next year.
How is the relationship with your team-mate?
I have a really good relationship with Alex. He is a strong rider and it's good for me to share data and information with him because I can learn a lot. Off the bike he is a funny guy too.
In regard to data, what is Alex’s strongest point?
Well, Alex is very good on braking, he is very smooth. I think his best skill is his smoothness on the bike. He is able to be really fast with our bike.
And your strongest point?
I’m really good at braking too, but I’m working to be smoother. It’s something that isn’t part of my natural style, a sort of weak point maybe, as I’ve always been more aggressive. But I’m confident that I can improve on this because I think it’s easier to learn to be smooth, than learn to be aggressive.
I expect a really good season next year because we’ve worked well and worked hard, and we’ve learnt a lot of things. I have a good feeling for 2020...
After the first 2020 tests in Valencia and Jerez, you could say that the new season has already started. Which direction are Suzuki headed in?
We are working a lot on traction, on smoothness, on the engine. The top speed is also important, but for now we’re mostly focused on the engine spec.
And what are you focusing on personally?
My riding style in general, my experience, and as I already mentioned; on becoming smoother. So it’s not just one area to focus on. I think it will be nice to come back from the winter break with an open mind and feeling fresh.
What do you expect in your 2020 season, more pressure?
Nowadays you have pressure in every season. I expect a really good season next year because we’ve worked well and worked hard, and we’ve learnt a lot of things.