Joan Mir lands on the front row in MotoGP for the first time … so why so …

Outgoing MotoGP world champion Joan Mir will start on the front row of a MotoGP race for the first time in today’s Algarve MotoGP, despite the intervention of Alex Marquez who prevented him from completing his second fast run.

Representing Suzuki’s notorious difficulties getting the tire to work in qualifying, even though Mir won the MotoGP World Championship 2020, he did so from an average starting position of nine on the grid and without even seeing a clear track in front of him.

That changed around Portimao, however, when he battled for pole on his single fast lap, ending him in third place under the Ducati Armada around him in first, second, fourth and fifth places.

Nonetheless, I was frustrated that the chance for a better result was ruined by Alex Marquez of LCR Honda, whom he says had been looking for a slipstream all day.

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While Mir says he had no problem with Marquez following him down the straight to be towed, he took offense at the Spaniard, who then slid inward at Turn 1 at the beginning of the lap, forcing him to go far and not being able to finish his lap.

Told me he would make no effort not to help Marquez in the future driver.

“It’s something I won’t understand,” he said. “He’ll try to find my bike every time, which I respect, but the second time I did the warm-up lap and then when I wanted to ride for a time, he passed me on the straight.

“It’s okay for me to help, but don’t lose the only lap I had to get a good result. I know what to do, I won’t stand in front of him, that’s done, so let’s try to come up with another strategy. I’m not going to give Alex the bike.

“Everyone has improved so it’s something I want to try even if I don’t improve. That makes me angry.”

Marquez, who starts as the best eighth of the season, defended himself and said he didn’t expect Mir to brake this early and therefore had to overtake or lose his own lap. However, he admits that drivers should be able to do their own lap without hauling.

“I took a chance because he’s usually fast from the first lap, but when I went into the first corner, he braked early compared to me and then I was already there. I apologized because it wasn’t my intention to overtake there.

“One moment, one point, we have to do the lap time alone and maybe we could have made it here, but we will play our cards on other tracks to have the slipstream.”