Joan Mir lands first ever MotoGP front row… so why so 'angry' with Alex Marquez?

Joan Mir achieves first front row of his title-winning MotoGP World Championship career at Portimao - but thinks Alex Marquez spoiled a better result

Joan Mir, Alex Marquez - Suzuki, LCR Honda, MotoGP, 2021, Portimao

Outgoing MotoGP World Champion Joan Mir will start on the front row of a MotoGP race for the first time in today’s Algarve MotoGP despite the intervention of Alex Marquez that prevented him from completing his second fast run. 

Representative of Suzuki’s notorious difficulties in getting the tyre to work properly in qualifying, despite Mir winning the 2020 MotoGP World Championship, he did it from an average starting position of ninth on the grid and without once seeing clear track in front of him at the start.

However, that changed around Portimao as he fought for pole on the strength of his one and only fast lap, landing him in third place among the Ducati Armada around him in first, second, fourth and fifth.

Nonetheless, Mir was frustrated the chance of a better result was ruined by LCR Honda’s Alex Marquez, who he says had been seeking him out for a slipstream throughout the day.

While Mir says he didn’t have a problem with Marquez following him for a tow down the straight, he took exception to the Spaniard then slipping up the inside at the start of the lap at Turn 1, forcing him wide and unable to complete his lap.

Saying he will no go to efforts to ensure he doesn’t assist Marquez in future, Mir - who has spoken out against the practice of towing in the past - was frustrated at being denied the chance to go for pole due to the actions of another rider.

“It is something I will not understand,” he said. “Every session he will try to find my wheel, which is something I respect but on my second time I made the warm-up lap and then when I went to put in a time he overtook me on the straight. 

“It’s fine that I help him, but don’t lose the only lap I had to make a good result. I know what I have to do, i will not be in front of him, that is finished so let’s try to make a different strategy. I will not give the wheel to Alex.

“Everyone improved so it is something that, even if I don’t improve, I want to try that is the thing that makes me angry.”

Marquez - who starts a season’s best eighth - defended himself saying he wasn’t expecting Mir to brake as early as he did and thus had to overtake or lose his own lap. He does admit, however, riders should be able to make their own lap without a tow.

“I took a chance because he is normally fast from the first lap but when I went to the first corner, he braked early compared to me and then I was there already. I apologised because it wasn’t my intention to overtake there.

“One moment, one point we have to make the lap time alone and maybe we could have done it here, but we will play our cards at other circuits to have the slipstream.”