In his first interview since joining Honda, the 2020 World Champion opened up on the move to the Japanese marque and what it means to him
Joan Mir is preparing for a new adventure in 2023, with the number 36 joining the ranks of the Repsol Honda Team. The 2020 World Champion will line up alongside Marc Marquez in the factory team for the coming year, forming a fearsome double act as the Japanese brand aim to return to past glories following a couple of turbulent seasons.
Naturally, the Mallorcan is excited by the prospect of teaming up with an eight-time World Champion at the sport’s most successful team, and in his first sit-down interview since moving to the team, he touched on a number of subjects including his initial thoughts on the switch, his 2023 ambitions and what he and Marquez discussed after the Valencia Test in November.
It’s a must-read, and you can check out the whole interview below:
What were your first impressions of the Repsol Honda team making your debut in Valencia?
“My first impressions of the Repsol Honda Team at the test were really good. When you come from a different team, you have to get used to the people and the dynamic of work, which is completely different from the one that I have been in, and I like it. There were a lot of people in the garage, and I enjoyed it. We made a great test and it felt like the first day back in school.”
How do you adjust to this new challenge?
“I try to adapt to this new challenge with optimism and the will to start well in a new team. Personally, I always enjoy these types of challenges, getting to know new things: How is the team, the bike, meeting all the people in the team… I enjoyed the test and this process, and I look forward to meeting more people in the team.”
From the physical side, how are you training physically to be ready for next year?
“Physically I did not change the approach of my preparation. I just give it a little bit more intensity. Every year, you give more intensity to try to be more in shape. This year, especially, because I know that the Honda bike is a physical one. I like to train technically and physically and this year I am probably doing more physical training than technical training because I think that I will need it. Overall, I did not change almost anything.”
Coming into the Repsol Honda Team, the most successful team in MotoGP history, what were your thoughts when you first signed the contract?
“My feelings when I joined a team like this one were unbelievable. I think that every rider has imagined himself with these colours, so being a part of this makes me really proud to arrive in such a sweet moment in my career. I think that I am in a sweet moment and I’m also young to try to repeat again what we’ve done in the past. So, let’s see what we can do.”
You talk about dreaming about these colours. When you were a kid, were you ever wearing replica leathers?
“I think that I probably did, although I don’t remember if I wore these colours in the past. In my dreams, I did it for sure, so it is something really nice.”
What do these colours mean? Is there a responsibility, a bit of extra pressure to continue that legacy, that history?
“Of course, to be a part of this team means more pressure, because only winning is a good result here. We know that we arrive at a difficult moment, but the approach to racing has to be the same one: try to be as fast as we can to bring these colours to where they deserve.”
What is it like to now share a box with Marc Márquez? You have raced against him a lot, but now he’s your neighbour.
“To share the box with Marc is a true challenge because he’s the best rider on the grid and the one with the most titles. This is something that can be really good in one way and probably more difficult in another. You can share some data with him and you can learn a lot from the inside, but if you don’t perform in the way that you want, you always have a tough rider on the other side of the garage.”
And now that you’ve both been riding the same bike, is there anything that surprised you or that you learnt about how Marc is riding that maybe you didn’t notice before?
“During the test I could make some laps with him and also share some data. He knows how this bike works perfectly. He’s able to ride in a way that the bike asks for: going really fast into the corner, which is probably faster than the bikes that I have tried in the past. Then, the way the bike gives you the power is different compared to the ones that I tried before. I have to get used to it and Marc knows how to do it really well.”
What is your goal for 2023?
“First of all, we have to be realistic. We arrive in a difficult moment. The key will be to adapt quickly to this bike and then try to build some confidence and speed during the first races. Then, from the middle season, the goal will be to try to be closer to the podium and to great results.”
What can you bring to the Repsol Honda Team?
“As a young rider and new rider, I can bring some freshness to the team. My experience in different teams is something that always gives good information to the team. I think that we share the same goal: which is to win another title. This is what I can give to the team.”
We saw you and Marc speaking at the end of the test. What were you chatting about with Marc?
“Chatting after the test is something normal. When a new rider comes to the box and tries the bike, you want to hear what his feelings are. In this case, we shared the direction that we wanted to follow. Pushing together in the same direction is really important, instead of each rider going on their own. We want to take the correct way together, and in this case, we were chatting about this.”