Suzuki made great strides with its 2022 MotoGP bike over the winter and showed strong racing pace in testing in Qatar, while topping the official speed charts with its more powerful engine.
Despite qualifying in eighth place, Mir was expected to climb to the front of the pack and battle for victory in the season-opening 22-lap race last Sunday.
But he encountered rear grip problems early on and struggled to “get the bike going” which meant he couldn’t do more than sixth at the checkered flag.
“[It] was a really physical race, because the pace was really high,” said Mir. “I struggled in the last 15 laps of the race and it was tough. Honestly, I’m a bit disappointed because I didn’t expect what happened in the race.
“I got off to a good start, I was there, my feelings were really good. But then I started having problems – I think a lot of people had – with the front tire, which was moving.
“I think it’s a normal thing because it’s a soft tire and on this track if you ride 1.54m the front end will move. If you are in front, you have less trouble than if you are behind. So I think it’s more normal.
“What happened with the rear grip is something we need to work on a bit because the rear went down a lot and I was having a lot of trouble getting the bike going.
He later added: “Normally we are good at it. [tyre management] and that’s an area I always try to care a lot about [about].
“So let’s try to understand why, and to understand what we can do to be better in the last laps because it’s difficult to understand.”
Joan Mir, Suzuki MotoGP Team
Photo by: MotoGP
Mir doesn’t believe the new motor contributed to his rear tire issues and thinks it’s just down to the setup, noting: “Of course we need to work a bit more on the electronics side, it probably wasn’t. not perfect.
“But I think it was more the setup, the geometry, trying to figure it out a bit more. The last part of last year I struggled in the last part of the race.
His teammate Alex Rins finished about four seconds off seventh after suffering from front tire issues, which he believes could be because the soft option was too soft for the Suzuki.
“It was a bit strange because in the first part of the race I suffered a bit from overtaking faster riders,” Rins said. “But when I was alone after passing [Jorge] Martin, I was trying to get to Joan, who was the pilot in front.
“I was pushing, I was pushing, but I had a lot of problems with the front end.
“Something that has never happened before, the braking was good but coming into the corner I don’t know if the tire was too soft for us, but I had those kinds of issues.
Although Suzuki’s disappointing Sunday failed to deliver on its pre-race promise, Mir is confident the Japanese brand will bounce back.
“There are a lot of builders ahead of us, it’s true,” he added. “But it’s only the first race, honestly. I think the people who fought here will not fight in the future.
“Everything will hopefully get back to normal. I think as a team we have more to say than fighting for that top five.
“I’m not worried. I know everything will be fine.