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Sunday at the BMW M Grand Prix of Styria could have been so much more than P4 for Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir. So much more.
Starting from his first MotoGP™ front row, Mir joined Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) in setting the pace at the front of the premier class freight train in Styria. Soon, the trio were clear of Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Mir’s teammate Alex Rins, with Mir then getting the hammer down on Miller and Nakagami to leave the Australian and Japanese riders two seconds adrift of his GSX-RR exhaust pipes.
Miller explained in his post-race interview how he couldn’t live with Mir’s pace, with Pol Espargaro also complimenting the speed his compatriot showed. The MotoGP™ sophomore was soaring towards a maiden premier class victory, until Maverick Viñales’ (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) huge Turn 1 crash brought out the red flags. A 12-lap sprint race followed, but Mir was at a significant disadvantage – he had no fresh Michelin front tyres left in his locker. Using the front tyre he had to pull clear of his competitors in ‘Race 1’, Mir couldn’t repeat his faultless performance after the restart. Battling the likes of Miller, who had two new soft tyres fitted, was an almost impossible task.
A hard-fought P4 was the end result in Styria for Mir. Not what the Suzuki star wanted, nor what he deserved. Understandably, Mir was disappointed with a Sunday that promised plenty, but the Spaniard is taking the positives.
“Yeah I’m disappointed, but the positive thing is that we are strong and we are fast, our first victory is very close. Today was not the day in the end. Let’s see Misano, I’m confident and fully charged,” said Mir, who heads to a Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli that should suit the Suzuki better than the Red Bull Ring.
“Yeah, looks like we are getting better, we are confident. Misano can be a good track for us. This one on paper was not the best track and we have been really, really competitive.”
As they say, every cloud has a silver lining. The silver and blue machine rider takes a P2 and P4 away from the Red Bull Ring doubleheader, placing Mir firmly in the Championship battle. Watch out for the yellow number 36 in Misano and for the rest of the season – Styria is a sign of things to come.