Motorcycles Mir has to ride MotoGP qualifying laps in 'unnatural' way
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Reigning MotoGP world champion Joan Mir says he is having ride qualifying laps on his Suzuki in a style “not really natural” to him.
One-lap time attack pace hasn't been a strong point of the Suzuki, with Mir the first world champion since Wayne Rainey in 1992 to win the title without a pole position last year.
Suzuki's only pole since it returned to MotoGP in 2015 remains Aleix Espargaro's top spot in qualifying for that year's Catalan GP, when he headed a Suzuki 1-2 in front of Maverick Vinales.
In both Qatar rounds this season Mir failed to get directly into Q2 from practice, and could only manage 10th and ninth in the grid for both races.
Mir: Marquez’s MotoGP return doesn’t change my motivation
Reigning MotoGP world champion Joan Mir says his motivation has not been altered by the return of six-time premier class title-winner Marc Marquez at the Portuguese Grand Prix. © Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team In Marquez’s absence in 2020 through injury, Mir and Suzuki ended his domination of the world championship – though Mir had the legitimacy of his title repeatedly questioned because he won it without Marquez present. These were claims both riders dismissed.
"We have a lot of work to do," Mir said of Suzuki's qualifying form.
"We are far but we are getting closer and we know the areas we have to improve because it's really difficult for me to make a good laptime.
"I have to ride in a different way and it's not really natural for me to ride in this way to make the laptime."
Despite this, Mir came through from 10th on the grid in the Qatar GP to be cruelly denied second by two Ducatis on the run to the finish line, while his pace in the Doha race was strong enough for the podium – though he could only manage seventh following several clashes.
The Suzuki's ability to preserve its tyres allowed both Mir and Alex Rins to generally brush off lowly qualifying performances in 2020, but the former admits improving Saturday results is "one of the most important things".
Mir: Season-worst MotoGP qualifying result ‘no big change’
MotoGP world champion Joan Mir is relaxed about his season-worst qualifying result of 14th for Sunday’s French Grand Prix as it’s “not a big change” from his usual grid slots. © Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images Joan Mir, Team Suzuki MotoGP The Suzuki rider was denied direct entry to Q2 after a crash late on in Friday’s FP2, with wet conditions in FP3 ensuring there would be no lap time improvements on the combined order. Both Mir and teammate Alex Rins set strong pace in the opening stages of Q1 in wet conditions, but were caught out by a number of late improvements as the track dried.
"I'm a lot more nervous and a lot more stressed on Saturday than normally on Sunday," he added. "It's something that we have to fix because it's not normal to be really far to our rivals in one lap pace.
"In the end, if you see the [race] pace we are always really good, we ride in a really good way. But what is not normal is our rivals are able to improve one and a half seconds [in qualifying]
"So, it's something that we have to work on that. Also, the natural style, it is not helping me, my natural style.
"I'm normally really aggressive and normally to make a lap time you have to be aggressive. You have to push, but at the end you have to be aggressive on the brakes and it's something that I have.
"But with this bike you have to be really smooth and really relaxed."
MotoGP Portuguese Grand Prix qualifying - Start time, how to watch .
Following a short break after the two season-opening races in Qatar, MotoGP returns to action with the Portuguese Grand Prix this weekend. Here's how you can watch qualifying on Saturday, April 17. © Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images Fabio Quartararo, Petronas Yamaha SRT What time does qualifying for the Portuguese MotoGP start? Q1 will begin at 20:00 local time, followed by the pole-deciding Q2 at 20:15. Each session will last 15 minutes. : Saturday, April 17Can’t find your country or region in the list? Check the MotoGP schedule page for the broadcast times in your local timezone.