MotoGP 2024
Round 1

Top Ten Contention for Positive Mir in Qatar GP

qa Lusail International Circuit

A mostly covert weekend for the Repsol Honda Team saw Joan Mir build steadily throughout the Qatar GP, able to challenge the top ten and collect clear data on where to improve in the coming races. Marini completed his first Grand Prix as a Repsol Honda Team rider with greater ambitions to come.

Top Ten Contention for Positive Mir in Qatar GP

Optimism was the word of the day for Joan Mir who put together a consistent ride after the turmoil on the grid which saw the race distance reduced. An aggressive start had Mir immediately gaining positions from 17th on the grid and moving into the point scoring positions. From here, the Repsol Honda Team rider set his sights on Fabio Quartararo and the top ten with the pair briefly battling Maverick Viñales before focusing on each other. With five laps to go, Mir took an opportunity to break away and secure 11th but his charge would come just moments too soon and he would have Quartararo and Zarco with him again as the race came to a close.

Crossing the line in 13th and 18.4 seconds from the winner, the most important aspect was the positive feeling and comfort he felt with the Repsol Honda Team RC213V. Mir and the team are adamant that this is the positive first step in a year of improvements – a confidence building result for the 2020 MotoGP World Champion.

On the other side of the Repsol Honda Team garage, Luca Marini was able to author another race finish. As with the Sprint race, the Italian spent the reduced 21-lap race distance working to improve his sensations with the Honda and understand his new bike over longer runs. Initially dropping back from the rest of the field, Marini made the most of his situation to study the KTM of Jack Miller for the majority of the race.

Now the paddock will head for Portugal and round two at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, March 22 to March 24. Both Mir and Marini are looking forward to getting back out on track and continuing their progress.

Joan Mir
Joan Mir 36
Repsol Honda Team
We made a great race, honestly. I started well and recovered a lot of positions straight away. It’s been a long time since I was able to enjoy riding like that, so that is really positive. Starting at the back isn’t easy, but we made good ground to be with Fabio for most of the race. In the last five laps I felt like I had a little bit more than Quartararo, so I overtook him and made a gap of one second. Then in the last two laps we dropped a lot, and we lost some positions, which isn’t ideal. But still we are pleased with everything we have done and always learning.

Luca Marini
Luca Marini 10
Repsol Honda Team
It’s encouraging to see the other Honda riders, and especially Mir, fighting for good positions. For us, it has been a continuation of our weekend today and we had a small issue which limited us in the race. I was able to understand a lot of things during the race which is very important, especially when I realized Miller was behind – I let him pass to study a little bit what he was doing. I think this will help us to understand more and more, to take some positives. We need time to keep trying things and getting more comfortable.

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