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Mir "pleased" with MotoGP Qatar race, Marini hampered by "small issue"

Gold and Goose

The fortunes of the Repsol Honda Team have changed dramatically since 2019, when it won all three MotoGP titles. Now, its riders must find the positives in not being able to finish inside the top 10.

It had been “a long time” since Joan Mir had been able to “enjoy” a race, he said afterwards. Having started the MotoGP Qatar Grand Prix effectively 16th after Raul Fernandez had to go to the back of the grid, Mir was able to fight his way up to 11th, before a tyre drop in the final two laps saw him fall behind Fabio Quartararo and Johann Zarco to 13th.

Joan Mir, Fabio Quartararo; MotoGP race, 2024 Qatar MotoGP. Credit: Gold and Goose.

After the race, Joan Mir said: “We made a great race, honestly. I started well and recovered a lot of positions straight away. It’s been a long time since I was able to enjoy riding like that, so that is really positive. 


“Starting at the back isn’t easy, but we made good ground to be with Fabio for most of the race. 

“In the last five laps I felt like I had a little bit more than Quartararo, so I overtook him and made a gap of one second. Then in the last two laps we dropped a lot, and we lost some positions, which isn’t ideal. But still we are pleased with everything we have done and always learning.”

Luca Marini, 2024 Qatar MotoGP. Credit: Gold and Goose.

On the face of it, there was less to be enthusiastic about from Luca Marini’s perspective after his HRC debut. The Italian qualified second-last, ahead of only Franco Morbidelli who missed all of preseason and 0.6 seconds slower than the rider ahead of him, Alex Rins.

In the Sprint, Marini was over 25 seconds adrift of the winning Jorge Martin after only 11 laps, and after the 21 laps of the Grand Prix Marini found himself 42 seconds behind Francesco Bagnaia. So bad was Marini’s race pace that he fell behind Jack Miller, who had crashed early on, at one point. Marini said that this was intentional, in order to learn from the KTM rider, and that his lack of pace was down to a “small issue”.

Following his first Grand Prix for the Repsol Honda Team, Luca Marini said: “It’s encouraging to see the other Honda riders, and especially Mir, fighting for good positions. For us, it has been a continuation of our weekend today and we had a small issue which limited us in the race. 

“I was able to understand a lot of things during the race which is very important, especially when I realised Miller was behind – I let him pass to study a little bit what he was doing. I think this will help us to understand more and more, to take some positives. We need time to keep trying things and getting more comfortable.”

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