I “feels stronger than ever” after best ever MotoGP qualifying

The 2020 title winner took his first ever front row qualifying result in last year’s Algarve GP at Portimao, and was in the fight for pole on Saturday for the 2022 Portuguese GP.

Mir in the end lost out to Pramac’s Johann Zarco by 0.195 seconds, but still held onto a career-best second.

Speaking after qualifying, the Spaniard said he has steadily been building good confidence on the 2022 Suzuki package and is feeling better now than he ever has.

“I’m happy for the position and everything, but more for the confidence,” Mir said when asked about his second-place in qualifying at Portimao.

“We are building good confidence since the first race in Qatar. And step-by-step I’m getting better, I’m getting the feeling that I want back.

“I think I’m ready, I feel stronger than ever honestly. I feel great and to make a qualifying lap like this one in these conditions, you need confidence.

“You need a good feeling with the bike and if not you are not able to push at 100%. And we’ve done it, so I’m happy.”

Mir is still without a win since the 2020 European Grand Prix at Valencia, the week before he won the championship.

Joan Mir, Team Suzuki MotoGP

Joan Mir, Team Suzuki MotoGP

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Asked by Motorsport.com if he was now in a position to finally break that drought, Mir said he ‘doesn’t know’ what he has to do to return to the top step of the podium, but feels in a better position after showing well last time out at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin where he doesn’t typically go well.

“I think we made a good start to the season – not spectacular, but a good one,” Mir added.

“So [I’ve been] very constant. I was missing something. And from Austin on, I understood something.

“Austin is a track that normally I don’t like, I’m not fast. And I was able to make a great race and finish strong.

“I know that in a track that is more favorable to my style, I will be able to get the speed, so we build the speed till now and I think every time I’m getting better with this bike.

“I don’t know what we can do [to win], but the steps we are doing are good steps and we don’t go back. We have to stay there consistently but almost.”

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Teammate Alex Rins endured a dire Saturday at Portimao, with the Spaniard only able to qualify 23rd in the mixed conditions of Q1.

Rins says his lowly qualifying result was down to an error in strategy on his part.

“What happened in Q1: we didn’t make the best decision, because I started with the rain tires as everybody did,” explained Rins, who currently sits second in the championship.

“And when I went inside the box I decided to switch to the slicks. The decision was nice, but that out-lap on the slick tires I suffered a lot, I lose the rear many times.

“I decided to box again and this was the problem. Then we only had one chance to do a fast lap.

“We did a 1m50.0s, but with the yellow flag I couldn’t improve my position.”