This time last year, Joan Mir was just a young talent with high hopes, but 365 days later the Spaniard’s status has drastically changed. All eyes are now on the Majorcan, who won the 2020 title with his speed, skill and consistency. A result he now puts aside as he focuses fully on the task in hand.

“I’m pleased the season is about to start – begins Joan – and so we start over. 2020 was a great year for me, but I just have to focus on getting the best out of my bike. I had good feeling during testing, and hope to be able to defend my title in the best possible way”.

Mir will be riding a Suzuki very similar in spirit to that of last year, but he will no longer have the support of former team manager Davide Brivio.

The engine is the same as last year, so the 2021 bike won’t be too different. It’s important to be consistent, as we were last season, remaining fast race after race. Brivio? We miss him and I wish him well. He did a great job, proving that Suzuki could win. The structure of the team remains the same despite his absence, we haven’t tried to replace him”.

 Mir: “Surprised by Marc’s absence”

With or without Brivio, Mir remains one of the title favourites, and he is aware of this, although is not forgetting about Marc Marquez’s imminent return.

“It’s hard to say who the favourite it, as many riders were able to win races last year but not be consistent. If I had to name one rider, I’d probably say me. I’m surprised Marc isn’t competing in the first two races, as those tests he did made me think he’d be here. It’s not positive for him of course, as he could have used the first races to rebuild confidence with the bike, but he knows better than anyone how to be fast”.

In any case, it’s time to concentrate on the opening race of the year and a win that Mir knows will be fiercely contended.

“Personally, I know I have a competitive package but in the past Suzuki hasn’t won a lot at this track. The Ducatis are very quick in Qatar, especially Jack, and the same goes for the Yamahas. And then there are always some surprises of course”.

Translated by Heather Watson

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