The Perplexing Struggle of Repsol Honda’s Joan Mir with the New Bike
In a season that has been full of ups and downs for Repsol Honda, new addition Joan Mir has struggled to make an impact. After switching to the factory team this year from Suzuki, where he won the championship last season, he finds himself in a position that he did not anticipate. He is now the fifth rider partnered with Marc Marquez at Honda in six years.
Dani Pedrosa was his predecessor in 2018 but had a winless final year before retiring from MotoGP altogether. Jorge Lorenzo followed him on board in 2019 but could not overcome the challenges posed by riding for Honda which ultimately led to him ending his MotoGP career entirely. Alex Marquez then took over for two seasons starting in 2020 but found it tough going as well which eventually led to his departure to Gresini Ducati after last season ended.
Mir’s start at Repsol Honda has been anything but smooth sailing so far having only scored five points from five rounds. While it hasn’t been easy for any rider on a difficult bike this year, even winning one race like Alex Rins did cannot mask how tough things have been overall.
Following a double crash at French GP earlier this month, Mir admits feeling scared about suffering the same fate as Lorenzo and Espargaro who both were unable to perform well due to their difficulties while riding for Honda.
“For sure I’m scared because I want to win,” said Mir recently when asked about his struggles thus far. “It’s very difficult for a rider like me to see myself in the position that I am.”
Despite having won the championship with Suzuki last year, Mir is struggling hard at Honda this season. He finds it challenging to understand what he needs to do differently on his new bike and how best to perform while riding it.
Honda introduced its Kalex-designed chassis at the recent French GP which both Marc Marquez and Mir raced on. While Marquez found some improvements from the new frame, stating that it was better than before, there remain many areas of improvement needed for Repsol Honda overall.
“What I want to do, I can’t do it,” explained Mir recently when discussing his struggles this season. “I think at the moment the team doesn’t understand what I need to be strong.”
Mir is optimistic about finding a way forward despite all these challenges. He believes that he can adjust himself and also work together with his team towards improving their bike setup as well so they can find success in future races.
“I believe that we can adjust this one,” said Mir confidently when asked about his prospects moving forward. “If you understand a little bit of my situation, you see that we arrived here [at Le Mans] with an untested bike during FP1; but straight away after riding it once or twice more times later on during practice sessions – again – already reached its limits.”