Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir claimed his third podium of 2021 at Assen this afternoon after fighting through the MotoGP pack from 10th on the Dutch GP grid.
Steady progress, and a few choice moves, allowed the defending champion to capitalise on a track limits penalty for Pecco Bagnaia and another DNF for teammate Alex Rins, as he made his way to third in the 26-lap race. A hard-fought battle with Pramac’s Johann Zarco proving the highlight before the Spaniard was released in the final eight laps.
“It’s an important podium for me, for Suzuki,” Mir admitted from the Assen press conference.
“I think that it will be a nice boost of energy to try to be better in the second part of the season. Like this, with this package, is probably not enough to fight for the title so we must work on it, work on the bike, work on myself. Always try to improve more,” he elaborated.
“I’m so happy about the race overall because I think we couldn’t expect much more than this, these two guys [Quartararo and Viñales] were really, really fast all weekend. They rode the bike in a really good level, and it was really difficult for me to be close to them. I did what I had to do in the first laps. Always is really difficult to overtake Hondas and Ducatis, is always a nightmare. I tried to do my maximum and then to make clever overtakes.
“Of course, I’m always struggling to overtake the Ducatis so maybe some overtake is a bit on the limit, or close to them, I never touch but I always make some block pass to them, so sorry for these overtakes but always is really difficult. I don’t like to make this overtake but [Zarco] is fast on the straight, he brakes hard, and is difficult.”
Discussing the changes needed for the Suzukis to be regular challengers in the second half of the season, the 23-year-old was quick to confirm the urgency for the start device - with the GSX-RR now the only machine on the grid competing without the technology.
“First we must work on the device, because there are a lot of tracks that this device can make a huge difference, to start in same conditions as the others,” Mir explained.
“This is the first thing that we must do, then to work a little bit on the details of the bike that always make the difference. We have to understand with the team what we need to be stronger in qualifying to make a good lap time - because always the pace that I’m able to do in the weekend is not far from the lap that I do in qualifying, almost pushing like an animal. Is difficult to understand but we will find a solution. We are probably still missing a little bit of speed. Not top speed, I mean speed especially with the new tyres, understand and try to get things to improve in that area. So this is the process.
“This podium is important because, okay, we are not close to the leader but we are not super far. So it means if we improve more and we make a strong way, everything is possible.”