Catalunya MotoGP: Joan Mir worried about title defence, Suzuki ‘didn’t improve’ | MotoGP

Reigning world champion Joan Mir has turned up the heat on Suzuki to start matching the technical improvements made by its MotoGP rivals.

Facing another comeback ride after qualifying tenth for Sunday’s Catalan round, the frustrated Spaniard described his GSX-RR as being ‘the same bike as last year’ and admitted to being ‘a bit worried’ about his title defence.

After seven rounds, Mir is already 40 points behind Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo, who has qualified on pole for the fifth event in a row. The Frenchman has won three races so far this season, while Mir and Suzuki have only managed a pair of thirds.

“Again, I’m a bit disappointed in qualifying. I gave 100% but the truth is I can’t go faster. It’s a bit frustrating. But I’m consistent and I’m happy about the pace… I think we will make a race again from less to more,” Mir said of fighting through the field in a similar way to last year, where he got to within one-second of Quartararo by the flag.

“This [recovering from a bad qualifying] is not the way to win races. Like this, I will be able to finish on the podium if I’m good in the race, if I’m able to manage well and make super good laps.

“But the truth is that we have to continue improving and pushing because the competitiveness this year is really high.

“A lot of manufacturers improved and we didn’t improve.

“Our bike is really good. we have a good base. But I have the same bike as last year. It’s the same one.

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“What does that mean? I’ve been two-tenths closer to pole position than here last year, but I was eighth last year and now I’m tenth. So this means we are not improving.

“We always need to push a bit more, to have more material and test more things to improve. This year clearly a lot of people improved. We have a good package but we didn’t improve this year.

“I’m a bit worried because I want to defend the title. And I think Suzuki also. But I think that we can push a bit more, honestly.”

I reiterated that it’s the lack of new parts that needs to be addressed.

“To bring more things,” Mir said. “Because the team works really well. But it’s not enough. The others are working harder maybe. We need to work all of us harder if we want to defend the crown.

“What I think can be improved is the speed and the delivery of things.”

Suzuki is now the only manufacturer without a rear holeshot device/ride-height system to help with acceleration and is yet to try a carbon-fibre swingarm.

Mir is the only Suzuki rider competing this weekend due to a bicycle injury for team-mate Alex Rins.