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Seeing Valentino Rossi in the Petronas Yamaha SRT colours has come as a surprise for Joan Mir, the Team Suzuki Ecstar rider admitting that it feels strange seeing the racing icon in his new leathers. The current World Champion and also feels that unusual as it feels, the change could do the world of good for The Doctor.
“It is surprising to see Valentino with other colours, it is what has me the most surprised. It's like seeing Pol with Honda. I will be surprised in the first test if one goes very fast, but not because of the colours,” said Mir when speaking to Marca.
“Normally, when you change teams, even with the same bike, you have fresh air. He probably needed this change. And this will help you to be even more competitive. I hope he's quick, I don't know how much. We will fight him in the first race."
MUST-SEE: Rossi's first interview with Petronas Yamaha SRT
Mir is hoping that the nine-time World Champion will be competitive once more, but he doesn’t rank him among those who are likely to challenge for the title this season.
“I will say who will be in the Top 5: Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), and also me.”
Eight-time Champion Marquez missed the majority of the 2020 season due to an injury sustained in the Jerez GP and isn’t sure what to expect when the Spanish rider returns to the track but has earmarked the Yamahas to be a serious threat once again.
“I don't know if he will be at the front from the beginning, only he knows, and probably he doesn’t know either, because it is difficult to go out and be competitive in the first race you do after a year out. I trust that when he returns I hope that, having already had so much recovery time, they will not make the same mistake of going into a race with an injury.”
“I think they will wait for him to be 100%. Then you have to count on him. I am looking forward to an explosive start to the season for the Yamahas too, like last year. It is important for us to be patient and if we have the opportunity in the first races to be fighting to win, well we will, but the season is very long. We have to have the same mentality that made us winners last season.”
It’s been a whirlwind few months for Mir. Crowned MotoGP™ World Champion in 2020 following an outstanding sophomore season in the premier class, and he has also been recently nominated for a Laureus Award, in the “Breakthrough of the Year” category.
"It is a pleasure to be among all those athletes. Seeing me in there is amazing. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be nominated. Let's see if we’re lucky. If you look at those who have won it, just being nominated is special. I did not expect it. We can have a chance for what we won in 2020. It is very exciting, I am very happy.
As for getting defending his title and getting back on track, Mir is just as excited as fans back home to see the action return.
“When I was a child, my dream was to be a MotoGP champion. Now I have it, I don't know anymore. I never dreamed of anything else. But now I am here, I won’t lie and say that if I retired now I would not be one hundred per cent satisfied because I think I am very young. What I have gained I have done very quickly. Too. I have 23 years and many years ahead to be at the top, to try to repeat. So all I can do is repeat.”
“I'm very excited. This year it is very easy to motivate.”