Joan Mir celebrated the maiden front row of his MotoGP career at Portimao on Saturday after qualifying his Suzuki Ecstar in third.
The 2020 champion enjoyed a strong Saturday performance having completed FP3 in the same position before running consistent pace throughout the final race-run practice but an altercation with Alex Marquez left the Spaniard with a range of emotions in Parc Fermé.
“Well, honestly something that I will not understand because in every session he always try to find my wheel, that is something that I respect, is fine but if you don’t disturb me,” Mir explained. “So in the second lap time, I made the out lap, warming up the tyre, and then when I was trying to pull again a lap time, he overtake me on the straight. So it’s fine that I help you but don’t make me lose the only lap that I have to make a good result. Is like this. Next time I know what I have to do. I will not be in front of him in this case, is finished this, so let’s try to make a different strategy. In the future I will not give again the wheel to Alex, this is like this.
“I don’t know if I was able to improve, I think that I had a little bit more than the first run, everyone improved but if I wasn’t able to improve, I want to try. This is the main thing that makes me angry but anyway is fine.
“I’m very happy,” he said of his front row position. “After Misano one, in Misano test we found something on the bike that I think could help us to be a little bit stronger. Then the past Grand Prix, with the weather conditions, always a little bit difficult, so I couldn’t show the real potential, of our bike and my one.
“Here in Portimao looks a good place to do it with really good weather. I’m pleased about the weekend at the moment. I felt quite strong in all the practice and I think our race pace can be a little bit improved, but it’s not bad. So I’m ready to fight tomorrow.
“Normally, starting in third row, is difficult to do something more than a podium. Is what happened during the year that we achieved the podium but we cannot fight for the victory starting in that position. So maybe starting in first row help a little bit to be all the time more in front and have the situation a bit more under control. But Pecco is strong, also the Ducati guys, then a couple more, so it will be interesting tomorrow too. Also tyre choice will be important.
“I think that nothing changed, honestly,” he commented when asked about his qualifying performance. “Like I said, in Misano one, also in Aragon we started to show a better potential than during the year. Then Misano test was useful for us. We work on some things, also Suzuki bring some good stuff and we were able to make a step but then the last two rounds were difficult with the conditions, to put it all together.
“Here with the weather, looks like we were able to build a good weekend so is what we needed. To make more laps with the bike, to understand all the specs and to understand more things that we can change and at the moment, this weekend, I’m quite confident. I’m able to ride the bike in a good way and I’m enjoying, that is the most important thing. When you enjoy on the bike always you are fast.”