The new 2020 MotoGP world champion Joan Mir has admitted that Saturday at the Portuguese Grand Prix was a “lost day” for him, after an electrical problem saw him miss out on the chance to go from FP3 directly to Q2, affected his qualifying and will lead to him starting tomorrow’s race from a distant 20th.
With an intermittent fault interrupting his entire day, Mir was left struggling to find his confidence in the Suzuki GSX-RR due to the nature of the problem, although he wouldn’t be drawn into details about it.
“Well, it was a really difficult day,” he admitted, “because we’ve had a problem with what looks like the electronics of the bike, and I was not able to to stay on the bike! It was a problem that we saw but when we realised that problem it was too late and our day went in the wrong direction. We were lost.
“When we realised it was already late. So, the important thing is that yesterday we had good pace, we’re quite confident, quite strong, because today due to this problem I could not show my performance.
“And then in qualifying, I didn’t have confidence because I didn’t know if this problem would come back, this problem that we’ve had. And I was without any type of confidence because I was a little bit scared sometimes, because of this.”
However, while Mir still wasn’t quite sure of himself in qualifying, he’s happy that his free practice pace is more than enough to see him not too far away tomorrow as MotoGP makes its Portimao debut.
Something of a master at charging through the field in 2020 thanks to a series of mediocre qualifying performances, Mir is content that the team has both fixed the problems that plagued him today and has found enough for him to be competitive tomorrow.
“Today was a day lost, because I was not able to find the good pace. When in FP4, when I put on the hard, I was able to recover the good feeling again, and then the last sector there was the oil flag and I was not able to finish the sector, but already the great feeling had come back. I said, okay, maybe we have here a great package.
“I’m confident we will put it all together, and the warm-up will be really important to make the last race a great comeback.
“We can fix it for tomorrow, for sure. But I cannot speak about the problem.”
Team-mate Alex Rins had a better day, set to line up for Sunday’s race in 10th and confident that he too can make an early charge – something that will be crucial if Suzuki is to pick up the constructors’ championship as well as the already-secured riders’ and teams’ awards.
With Suzuki currently tied with Ducati on 201 points and with the top machine from each brand scoring, it means that either Rins or Mir will have to beat the top Italian bike – which looks set to be front-row starter and last weekend’s podium finisher Jack Miller.
“Let’s see what we can do tomorrow,” said Rins at the end of the day. “I’ll start on the fourth row and I think I can do something. My laptimes and feelings have been good, and even though the track is quite tight and technical, I feel positive.
“Tomorrow morning’s warm-up will be important for testing my rhythm once again, because now we’re sure of the set-up, so the next thing is just to feel a bit more comfortable in my rhythm. I’ll try extremely hard to get the best position possible to end the season on a high with my team and with the hope of the triple crown.”