Reigning MotoGP world champion Joan Mir says he is mystified how he has performed as strongly as he has without a rear hole-shot device prior to receiving one in Austria.
The Suzuki racer finally sampled such a device-the Japanese manufacturer the only factory to have not brought the development prior to the Styrian Grand Prix weekend-in FP3 on Saturday morning, Mir quickly getting his head around the gizmo as he qualified a seasons-best fifth.
A strong start thanks to the hole-shot device meant he ran third early on before dispatching Jack Miller’s Ducati, the Spaniard from then on the only rider that could get anywhere near eventual race winner and pole-man Jorge Martin’s Desmosedici, Mir taking the chequered flag just 1.5 seconds behind despite lacking top end speed on the power sensitive Red Bull Ring circuit.
Mir revealed post race that he was shocked he had been able to perform as well as he has so far in 2021-entering the Styrian event fourth in the riders standings having captured a trio of third place results-without the hole-shot device, the ’17 Moto3 world champion lauding Suzuki’s latest development an “important improvement.”
“It (hole-shot device) was a really important improvement, now I don’t know how we’ve been able to be strong at the beginning of the season without it,” said Mir.
“You honestly feel it (improvement) and it’s the first time we can start as well as the others, so now we have to look at improving some more things on the bike, little details, but now we can start like the others.
“I’m happy to not miss the victory by not that much, I went wide a few times but overall I’m very satisfied with the weekend and hopefully I can be even stronger next race.
Mir says he is hoping to find a cure for excessive rear wheel spinning ahead of this weekend’s second event at the Red Bull Ring, the one-time race victor reckoning that the key to Martin maintaining a hold over him was better traction as the race entered its latter stages.
“When you fight with a Ducati it’s always a challenge because they accelerate so fast and can stop really well, and our advantage is completely the opposite and at this track there are more places that help them than us,” continued Mir.
“I gave it my all but you can see that in the first and second sector I was losing a lot and then tried to recover it back in the third and fourth sector.
“Then at the end I was losing even more acceleration (relative to Martin) with the worn tyre, I was spinning and he still had really good drive so I really want to try and improve this for next weekend.
“Before you would always expect the Ducati’s to run out of tyre grip before the end of the race, but nowadays they never drop so I knew that if I didn’t have the speed at the end of the race it would be really tough.
“I could see towards the end that I kept losing more and more time in the first two sectors, so I tried to make up more on the brakes but it was really difficult so we need to work on our weak points.”