Joan Mir says a gamble to run the medium rear tyre in the Catalan Grand Prix was the “key” to his victory chances being dashed.
Mir-the only Suzuki rider taking part at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya after team-mate Alex Rins broke his wrist in a cycling accident at the circuit on Thursday-made a rapid start after qualifying tenth to enter the top four by the conclusion of the opening tour.
He challenged the front-runners in the early stages as he utilised the extra grip provided by his softer rear rubber-his rivals having all opted to take the hard compound rear tyre instead- though started to drop back from the podium battle towards the latter stages, the reigning MotoGP world champion eventually taking the chequered flag fifth after holding off Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales.
This later became fourth after series leader Fabio Quartararo received a pair of three-second time penalties-for cutting Turn 1 and riding without his leathers fastened correctly respectively- Mir explaining he found it “difficult to stay on the bike” as the contest raced towards its climax.
“Today was a shame because I thought we could go for something big, we went for a strategy using the medium rear and this for sure was the key thing (that stopped us) fighting for the victory because I tried to manage it the best way I know to save tyres until the end which is a strong point I normally have,” explained Mir.
“I started to feel the tyre was dropping a lot and it was difficult to stay on the bike in the last laps, but I hope to continue improving.
“It was the right choice for everybody (hard rear tyre), the top four riders were riding with the hard rear so that means there was something more possible so I hope to learn from our mistakes.
“I hope to find something to be faster and more consistent, we don’t have much to try (in Monday Barcelona test) but I think that we will find something for the next races.”
Mir currently sits fifth in the riders standings following a so far consistent-but-unspectacular start to his title defence season, a pair of third place results at the Portuguese and Italian GP’s his best finishes so far which leave him 37 points adrift of Quartararo at the top of the tree.
Rins meanwhile hasn’t scored since the opening two races of the campaign in Qatar-leaving him a lowly 15th overall- despite showing great speed, the three-time premier class race victor having suffered four consecutive crashes prior to the broken wrist that prevented his participation in the Catalan event.
His injury also puts him in danger of missing the German GP in two weeks time, with the Dutch TT at Assen taking place just a week after the Sachsenring sprint.
Suzuki are currently fourth in the manufacturers standings, a point behind the resurgent KTM but ahead of the Honda and Aprilia marques.