Next weekend marks the return of MotoGP after the long summer break, and so too the return of Chicho Lorenzo, with his regular segment on YouTube channel ‘Motogepeando’.
This week’s topic is, once again, Joan Mir and his less than convincing season as current world champion.
Following his 2020 title win, Mir currently lies fourth in the standings with 101 points and three podiums to his name, but no wins. The number 36 rider’s weak point continues to be qualifying, something of an Achilles’ heel for the Suzuki rider since his arrival in the top class.
"Mir is not explosive over the flying lap"
Lorenzo Senior remarks: “At the start of the season we said that Joan needed to improve on his weak point – his starts, and particularly his grid position. He recovers well but can’t reach the riders up front, even if he makes up three or four positions. I’d like to see an improvement there”.
A problem that Chicho believes the world champion has always struggled with. “There is one thing to consider – the great champions who come to MotoGP have had issues moving up to the bigger engine. When you move up to MotoGP you come up against the best of Moto3 and Moto2. So while your weak points might have been somewhat hidden in the minor classes, they become important in MotoGP”.
“Joan is not explosive over the flying lap, if he were he’d score more pole positions and front row starts. This wasn’t a problem in Moto3 because you can reach the podium or even win from 20th position there. In Moto2 yes, but when you come to MotoGP it’s worse. How can you resolve it? Well you need to focus on becoming explosive over the flying lap, by working at it”.
The example of Pedrosa, Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo
But the great champions need to be able to correct their defects, and it is here that Lorenzo takes a first shot at Mir.
“Dani Pedrosa, Lorenzo, Stoner were all riders who had to improve on their weak points, issues that hadn’t mattered as much in other categories. One key aspect of being a great champion is being able to solve your problems”, opines Chicho. “There are others who stay in the same category for ten, fifteen years and solve nothing, they remain the same from start to finish, with the same weaknesses and the same strengths”.
“One of the great qualities of a champion is the ability to work on their weak points, to strengthen them. Look at Jorge Lorenzo – his starts were his weak point and he turned them into his strength. And then there's Randy Mamola – he was terrible in the wet but became the best rider of his generation in those conditions”, explains the Majorcan, before taking another shot at the Suzuki rider.
"Marquez has never complained about the bike"
“If Lorenzo and Pedrosa hadn’t improved on their weak points, would they be the champions they are today? No. And we’ve not mentioned Marc Marquez - he’s a great problem-solver. I’ve watched him change his style completely, from being aggressive to much more refined when the bike wasn’t working for him. When has Marquez complained about his bike? Never, this is one of the strengths of a real champion.”
Translated by Heather Watson