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Joan Mir: “Valentino Rossi invited me to the ranch”
Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) is one of only two rookies in the MotoGP™ paddock to have won a race in 2016, as he took victory in the Moto3™ race at the Austrian GP – from pole position. After a more difficult start, the win catapulted Mir into both the limelight and the group of frontrunners in the incredibly competitive Moto3™ field – and more impressive finishes have seen him now reach sixth in the standings with one race to go. The Spaniard sat down with motogp.com to look back on his win, what he’s learned so far this year – and what his ambitions for the future are.
Joan Mir: “During this season the first races were so difficult for me, because the bike was new for me and also for the team. But finally on the last races of the season we are fighting there, and also got podiums and one victory. So it’s incredible. The difference is that I came back more motivated and also the bike went really well in Austria. It was the beginning of some really good races. The race was a very easy race, not the end, but easy race. Because we worked a lot on the rhythm and also on the settings of the bike. And the bike was perfect. I knew if I could stay in the group in the last lap I could fight for the victory. And that’s it. Perfect last lap and then a victory was incredible”.
The pressure on the track wasn’t all the Mallorcan rookie had to deal with – more nervous off track than on.
JM36: “The most difficult thing was the press conference with all the top riders. I was more nervous in the press conference than in the race! I admire a lot the top riders, the top five in MotoGP™, because to be there and ride like this and always be there is very difficult. But always my reference is Valentino, the greatest of all time. He invited me to the Ranch, and it was an amazing moment. I couldn’t go because I had an event or something. It’s a shame, but maybe in the future I will go.”
That future sees Mir with the season finale in Valencia just around the corner – and fighting it out for the title of Rookie of the Year, a handful of points down on the current leader in that chase, Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46).
JM36: “I would like to finish my season as Rookie of the Year and apart from that, to say in Valencia that I learned a lot this first year. That is true. I’m a different person and rider since the beginning of the season until now. For the next year the main goal is to fight for the Championship. And to progress, to be in MotoGP™, and become the rider with as many titles as I can. This is all a rider’s dream.”
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