Motorcycle Racing

Why Mir’s “priority” is to remain with Honda despite two years of MotoGP misery

Joan Mir, Repsol Honda Team

Reports by Autosport saying Joan Mir is set to stay with Honda in MotoGP for two more years came as some surprise given the misery of the past two seasons.

To say the last three years for Mir have been brutal would be something of an understatement.

The 2020 world champion was nearing renewing with Suzuki, with whom he won the title, early in 2022 when the Japanese brand made its shock decision to quit the series at the end of that year.

It left him with little option but committing to a factory Honda deal for the 2023/24 seasons, stepping right into the fire as the RC213V’s competitiveness hit a nadir after an already tricky couple of years following Marc Marquez’s final title win in 2019.

Numerous injury woes forced Mir out of five grands prix last season and he ended the campaign with a meek tally of 26 points.

This marked the worst points tally for a full-time Repsol Honda rider ever in the modern MotoGP era. Previously that dishonour belonged to three-time MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo, who managed just 28 points in his sole year with the team in 2019 before retiring (Stefan Bradl’s 27-point haul in 2020 is not being considered for this stat, as he was drafted in to replace Marc Marquez after breaking his arm in round one).

Things have not improved at all in 2024, despite concession regulations brought in to help the struggling Japanese manufacturers.

Mir is currently 18th in the standings on just 13 points, achieving a best GP result of 12th. He is the top Honda rider in the championship and four points clear of LCR’s Johann Zarco, whose best result is also 12th. Team-mate Takaaki Nakagami is a point behind, while Mir’s team-mate Luca Marini is yet to score after seven rounds.

Joan Mir, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Mir has crashed seven times this season already (having done so on 24 occasions across 2023), while Honda has spent much of the year chasing its tail as the engine characteristic it found in pre-season testing led to “unexpected” problems. Thus, not much development has actually been done to address the bike’s poor grip and handling.

Prior to the rider market bursting into life at the Italian GP, the signs were that Mir was facing retirement rather than carrying on. That’s changed.

“The priority has been that one [to stay with Honda] for one year ago or something, because it’s true that I’ve been unlucky to be part of probably the worst moment…

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