Joan Mir swept to the 2020 MotoGP world championship with 10 points finishes in a row including seven podiums, as his rivals failed to get anywhere near that consistency and their title bids collapsed.
But a week after his coronation at Valencia, Mir’s campaign came to an ignominious end in the Portuguese Grand Prix.
The Suzuki rider failed to finish the final round of the season at Portimao, colliding early on in the race with both Pecco Bagnaia and Johann Zarco before being forced to pull into the pits.
He admitted that he had made an aggressive start to Sunday’s action after an electrical gremlin on Saturday led to him qualifying in a distant and season-worst 20th place.
However, a combination of that start – in which he gained eight places – and a different problem left him out of the race.
“I was feeling really good in the first two laps, and it’s a shame what happened,” he said.
“But in one of the impacts I lost the electronics of the bike and I could feel it failing. That’s why I retired.
“It’s a shame to finish the season like this but that’s how it is.”
“I was really aggressive, a bit too much. I was not dirty, but it wasn’t the best manoeuvre, and I’m sorry for that” :: Joan Mir
It was uncharacteristic for a rider who is normally aggressive but clean.
He has also become one of the first to speak out about others making moves he deems dangerous.
But Mir was quick to apologise to his rivals for the contact he made at Algarve, holding his hands up and saying sorry.
“I don’t know how I did the first two laps. The adrenaline was making it easy to overtake and it was fun,” he admitted.
“But I have to say sorry to Pecco. I was really aggressive, a bit too much.
“Sometimes I criticise these types of manoeuvre. I was not dirty, but it wasn’t the best manoeuvre, and I’m sorry for that.
“Because of the contact, or with the one with Zarco where I touched the front as well, it affected the electronics of the bike somehow.
“We don’t know why, but I didn’t have traction control.
“I would have it in some parts but not in others, and it was really dangerous, so I retired.
“I had some big moments throughout the race, and it was getting worse and worse as the tyre went.”
Bagnaia didn’t crash after the contact but was hit hard enough by Mir to dislocate his shoulder.
Able to pop it back into place, he was nonetheless forced to retire due to the pain from the injury, but he isn’t expected to face any long-term issues as a result.
Mir’s retirement in Portugal and championship runner-up Franco Morbidelli’s third-place finish meant Mir’s final title winning margin was cut to just 13 points.