Strategy blunder costs Mir Q2 spot in Doha MotoGP

Reigning MotoGP world champion Joan Mir says a strategy blunder by Suzuki late on in FP2 in the Doha Grand Prix cost him a place in Q2.

Strategy blunder costs Mir Q2 spot in Doha MotoGP
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With conditions in FP3 set to be too hot for the Losail circuit to allow for improvements in lap time, Mir is resigned to facing the first qualifying shootout session on Saturday just as he did last weekend.

The Suzuki rider could only manage 13th at the end of Friday’s action, missing a place inside the top 10 by 0.098 seconds. Mir says he set his earlier benchmark on a pre-heated tyre – which was a fresh soft option, but left over from the previous week’s Qatar GP, meaning it didn’t have the same performance as the fresh tyres he has specifically for the Doha event.

This is common practice, but Mir says his Suzuki team mistimed his switch to the “good” new rear tyre and left him with just one lap at the end – with the Spaniard admitting the GSX-RR simply isn’t good enough to ease into Q2.

“On these days we have to use the pre-heated tyres of the other grand prix and this is something that the tyre doesn’t perform in the same than a new one brand new,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com about Suzuki’s FP2 strategy. “So, everyone knows it and we just wait for the good one for the last exit.

“For some reason they [ask] me [to] box to change the tyre and I suddenly came in, but then I didn’t have time. I cannot control the time, I just watch the board.

“Inside the team we didn’t make the best strategy today and well, I’m not happy because it’s difficult, it’s really difficult to make good lap times with the package that we have at the moment and every detail here counts a lot.”

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He added: “They called me in because we needed to put the good tyre on at the end. We didn’t use it [before]. We used a new soft, but not the good one. So, they boxed me late. This was the problem.”

The change in track conditions from the previous weekend has meant Mir is “struggling more than ever” for single-lap pace, but doesn’t feel he has lost anything in race trim compared to a week ago.

“I’m struggling more than ever to make a lap time,” he said. “The harder I try the worse it is and everyone is improving a lot the bikes, I see a lot of levels of bikes and we have to improve our bike. I’m not happy about today.

“We couldn’t see our performance on the race. I’m confident we have good performance. In FP1 it’s during the day and it’s difficult to say. We only rode with used tyres and the lap times were not so bad, so we didn’t lose any performance about race pace.

“But we couldn’t make the lap time and that’s why I’m not happy.”

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