Suzuki Ectsar rider Joan Mir has a chance to clinch the MotoGP World Championship in his home country at this weekend’s Valencian Grand Prix.
The penultimate race of the season will be run on Sunday 15 November and is the second consecutive Grand Prix held at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo.
Mir recorded his first Grand Prix win at the track last weekend to stretch his championship advantage and can clinch the title with a podium finish.
What the Championship leader had to say
“Well I feel great honestly, it’s a special weekend because we have the first match point,” Mir told a press conference on Thursday.
“It means we’ve done a great job this season, like you said we have a good advantage in the points but for sure it is not done.
“There is a lot of work to do here in the second race and a lot of riders will improve their performance because it’s the second weekend on track. We have a bit of margin but let’s see.”
What Mir’s MotoGP title rivals had to say
Petronas Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo and Mir’s Suzuki teammate and compatriot Alex Rins are the Spaniard’s closest title rivals, both 37 points behind number 36.
Quartararo insists that he will be focused on winning the Grand Prix and not on where Mir is on the track.
The Frenchman had held the championship lead for much of the season but let it slip after an injury in a crach at Motorland Aragon hampered his progress.
“I think it’s the only solution. Of course, we had tough times but we need to enjoy it, that’s the most important thing,” said Quartararo. “When you enjoy it, everything comes easier and the last few races have been more of a struggle. I think it’s important to have a great mindset and think about Sunday. We need to qualify better and then fight for victory. If we want to take it to Portimao, that’s the only solution.”
Rins expects a great race from his teammate and the 20-year-old Yamaha rider.
“For sure if we want to reduce the advantage to Joan, the unique thing is to try and finish P1. As he demonstrated this season he is very consistent, so let’s see. First of all, in my case, improve the setup because we were struggling a bit in the last part of the race. I hope we can do a great race,” Rins said.
Fourth-placed Maverick Viñales believes that Rins has the title in the bag even if he doesn’t seal it this weekend.
“For sure, the Championship is now won. Joan only needs a few points and for sure he will do it,” Viñales said.
“Right now, our mindset is on improving for next year, because we can’t continue with these irregularities on the bike.
“One weekend with grip we win, the next we struggle a lot, so it’s important for us to improve that.
“We have two races at two different tracks, so I think it’s a good opportunity to make an improvement and with it being race time it’s the best time to improve and test, it’s not like at a test when the grip is high and everything is working well.
“We always see that when the Yamahas have grip it’s hard to beat us but without grip, we struggle a lot, more than our competitors, so we need to focus this weekend and try to find these improvements. These two races will be without grip for various reasons so it’s crucial for us to stay focused and work hard.”