Joan Mir open to Suzuki exit as Honda rumours persist for 2023 MotoGP

Joan Mir says he will play the waiting game when deciding on his plans for the 2023 MotoGP World Championship season amid talk of a Repsol Honda approach

Joan Mir, Marc Marquez - Suzuki, Honda, 2021 MotoGP

Joan Mir says he is happy to adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach towards making a decision on his MotoGP future amid rumours he is being courted by Repsol Honda for 2023.

The 2020 MotoGP World Champion is preparing to start his fourth season in MotoGP as part of the Suzuki Ecstar outfit, the team with which he made his premier class debut in 2019.

However, he is one of several riders coming up to the end of their contract come the conclusion of the 2022 MotoGP season, with the fabled ‘silly season’ of negotiations seemingly underway as teams and riders canvass options.

As it stands, much will hinge on the movements of defending World Champion Fabio Quartararo, who intimated a willingness to depart Yamaha if development of the M1 doesn’t progress towards his requests for a more power-focused package.

It is a hesitance that has caught the attention of Yamaha’s rivals with Honda understood to be putting effort into luring him from their Japanese rivals for 2023.

Quartararo says he will wait to sample the 2022-spec M1 in the upcoming pre-season tests before considering his options, but should he commit to an extended Yamaha stay, Honda is understood to have a contingency plan to target Mir.

It is an interest the Spaniard hasn’t moved to deny, so while he reiterates that he remains loyal to Suzuki, he says he is happy to ‘wait and see’ where some of the 2023 MotoGP puzzle pieces fall before getting involved.

“It's a game,” he said. “If you are in a good position, you can wait and then decide. If you are not, then you want to sign as soon as possible. Every driver has a different approach. So you have to wait and see what happens."

Though Champion in 2020 and third overall in 2021, Mir admits he is frustrated that his two successful seasons have yielded just a single win (Valencia 2020). It is a scant tally he is determined to rectify in 2022.

“I don't just want a MotoGP title and I want to do it in a different way. I want to win more races. Maybe I won my title because of intelligence and not because of the speed I had. 

“I was one of the best, but not the best. So I want to win in a good way. Let's see, everything can change.”

Why Joan Mir is a better choice than Quartararo for Honda

While it’s hardly surprising Quartararo sits pretty atop every manufacturer’s wish list for 2023, Mir is surely a close second. Moreover, he is arguably the more likely to be open to change.

Indeed, much like Quartararo, Mir’s MotoGP vision is likely to form once pre-season testing gets underway in Malaysia this weekend with Suzuki under pressure to be more aggressive with its approach for the 2022 evolution of the GSX-RR.

The Japanese manufacturer played it rather safe in the wake of its surprise but richly deserved 2020 title tilt, the GSX-RR proving a quick all-rounder but out-developed by Yamaha and Ducati. With many fearing the Ducati GP22 will make another step forward for 2022, Suzuki risks being swamped back into the pack again with a sizeable step forward.

Indeed, Mir’s title success notwithstanding, one can sense his frustration at not landing a win in 2021 in his attempts to defy cynics who contend his championship win was achieved with a healthier dose of luck than blistering pace.

Truth is, Mir has worked incredibly hard to achieve the results he has simply because Suzuki is yet to find a solution to its tyre optimisation issues in qualifying, which often leaves both Mir and Alex Rins having to fight up the order come race day.

If he senses the same problems for 2022, Honda will no doubt become more appealing to Mir, not least because the once poisoned chalice of occupying the second seat alongside Marc Marquez doesn’t seem as toxic in the wake of his myriad injury woes.

Almost the antithesis of Quartararo, who is hard to beat in clear air but stymied in the heat of battles, the dogged and consistent Mir is arguably a better fit for the edgy Honda RC213-V.

Regardless, any hint of a Honda deal will be a concern for Suzuki, not least because it is likely to be considering a rider change on the other side of the garage if the under pressure Rins continues the error-strewn trend of 2020 and 2021.

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