MotoGP 2024
Round 1

Mir takes top Honda honours in opening Sprint of 2024

qa Lusail International Circuit

An eventful afternoon and evening for the Repsol Honda Team in Qatar as Joan Mir and Luca Marini got their first taste of racing for the year. Mir emerged as the quickest Honda as Marini endured a strange race, not reflective of his pace.

Mir takes top Honda honours in opening Sprint of 2024

Adapting to the revised schedule due to Friday’s rain, Joan Mir was immediately on the attack as he hunted the best grid position possible with Practice starting the day. Missing out on the top two in Q1 by just half a second after a crash at the last corner, Mir secured 17th for both races at the Qatar GP. 

His efforts continued into the Sprint race where he posted consistent lap times to bring himself steadily towards the front over the course of the 11 laps. An issue at the start of the race limited his pace in the early laps, but it soon resolved itself and Mir found himself closing in on the second group and gaining rapid ground on Zarco. With just a handful of corners to go, Mir attacked and picked off Zarco – claiming 15th and top Honda honours at the flag. The #36 felt there was more to offer and is aiming to deliver on that potential on Sunday. 

Work continued on diligently for Luca Marini throughout the course of a complicated day. A crash, his first as a Repsol Honda Team rider, during the early stages of Practice saw him return to the garage, change leathers and head back out. A best lap of 1’52.952 in Q1 would see the #10 start from 21st on the grid. 

A quiet race unfolded for Marini as he worked on understanding the Repsol Honda Team RC213V. Immediately starting his debrief with the team upon his return to the garage, plans are already underway to improve his feeling and the bike’s setup for Sunday’s feature race. The Italian and his Repsol Honda Team engineers are certain there is much more to come and the first result of the year is an outlier. 

Now all attentions turn to the main event, the 22-lap Qatar Grand Prix on Sunday, March 10, where both Repsol Honda Team riders have clear targets.

Joan Mir
Joan Mir 36
Repsol Honda Team
In the last part of the race we were able to run in the 53 lows and I was catching the second group, which was quite good. I was able to overtake, and I finished the race with a good feeling. Our position isn’t the best, but there are positives about the feeling. There was something in the first five laps that then disappeared that we need to check because after that I could do my pace. I think tomorrow will give us a chance to show what we can really do, fighting close to the top ten and being there. 

Luca Marini
Luca Marini 10
Repsol Honda Team
A strange day speaking honestly because I was not expecting to be so far, nor were the team. All weekend, and in the test, I was more or less with the Honda riders but today we were very far. First, we need to understand why because the feeling was not what it has been. I was really strong in braking but we need to improve a lot in other areas. It’s the first race we have done so there is certainly more to come and I am confident we will get there. 

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