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sábado, septiembre 30, 2023
HomeMotorcyclesJoan Mir On Racing For Honda, Fixing MotoGP, And Dealing With Crashes:...

Joan Mir On Racing For Honda, Fixing MotoGP, And Dealing With Crashes: «You Remember Every Crash» |

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Interviews are precarious things. A hundred things can happen between arranging the interview, actually speaking to the person you want to interview, and then publishing it. Sometimes you get lucky, and the rider you want to speak to wins a race the week before your scheduled appointment. Sometimes they break a leg and are absent at the race you had arranged to speak to them. And sometimes something major happens between the time you interview someone and the publication date.

When I arranged to speak to Joan Mir, I got lucky. The 2020 MotoGP world champion arrived at Mugello fit, healthy, and in an open and talkative mood. That was not a given, after the miserable weekend he had at Le Mans, finishing down in 14th in the sprint race and crashing out of the Sunday grand prix.

Mir spoke openly about the unexpected difficulties he had faced since joining the Repsol Honda team, and the low point which Honda finds itself in. He spoke about how he handles such difficulties mentally, how he tries to put bad experiences behind him and where he finds the mental strength to keep grinding away, trying to make progress. And he spoke about the problems facing MotoGP, how the current state of technology has taken control away from the riders and made the bike a much, much bigger part of the overall performance package.

I was also lucky in a way journalists do not like to be lucky. I spoke to Joan Mir at some length about how he deals with crashes, tries to learn from them, and put them behind him when he gets back on the bike. Then, during practice on Friday, Mir had another big crash, damaging his right hand and forcing him to withdraw from Mugello, and then the following two weekends at the Sachsenring and Assen. The interview had been relevant in a way I would not wish on anyone.

Joan Mir is always fascinating, though. One of the most thoughtful and intelligent riders on the current MotoGP grid, a rider who looks beyond the next session to see the bigger picture. When he speaks, it is always worth listening.

Q: What were your expectations when you signed for Repsol Honda? On the one hand, it’s the biggest team in racing, it’s the most important Spanish team because of the link with Repsol, but we’ve also seen how difficult it is for teammates of Marc. We saw Jorge Lorenzo struggle. What were you expecting?

Joan Mir: Well, of course when you come to this team with these colors, you know that nothing but winning is a good result. And always the expectations here are very high. It’s true that now they are probably a little bit less, because now after many years they are not passing through their best moment. And we arrive at that moment, but I think it’s a matter of time before the team like this one finds a bit the way of what you need to be fast. And we are a bit there in the middle. At the moment, it’s difficult, because I don’t feel great on the bike. I’m not enjoying. And this is a reality. But I have hopes that this situation can only change in a team like this one.

Q: You’ve ridden behind Hondas for many years, so you must have had an idea of what the bike was doing well and what it wasn’t doing well. How is it different from your expectations when you finally got to ride it?

JM: Well, when I was behind them, when I exploded really in MotoGP was one moment when the Hondas weren’t winning. So I didn’t really see the bike as having a huge potential when I came here. It’s not that there was one area where I would say, it looks very good here, because I didn’t have an opportunity to fight with Marc in his best moment with the Suzuki.

When I came here, the reality was that it’s a difficult bike. I could see before coming here there were a lot of crashes, for every rider. And at the moment I’m having those crashes, and I’m in that process of learning that on this bike, that you need to crash to be fast. And this is a reality at the moment.

Q: How hard is that mentally?

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JM: Very hard.

Q: Because crashes hurt, even for MotoGP riders?

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