Where Should Joan Mir Ride Next Season?
Written by Gabrian Cornelis, Edited by Ishani Aziz
Since Team Suzuki Ecstar announced that 2022 will be their last season in MotoGP, Alex Rins and one-time MotoGP Champion Joan Mir have been a hot topic in the riders' transfer market. During the summer break, LCR Honda announced that Alex Rins will ride for them in 2023 and 2024. This leaves a lot of questions regarding Mir’s future: who will offer him a seat? What are his options?
To answer the first question, it’s speculated that many teams do want Mir, despite him failing to retain the Championship title last season. He was probably one of the most consistent riders on the grid and that makes him an asset. He had two DNFs last season and managed to finish third in the championship with a bike that was underdeveloped and lacking in top speed like the Yamaha’s. On top of that, Mir is known to have an excellent race craft because of his ability to make up positions due to bad qualifying. These two examples come into my mind; starting 10th in the 2021 Dutch GP and finishing in third place, and starting 16th in the 2021 German GP to finish in ninth place. I understand that this season has not been great for Mir with five DNFs in the last eight races, but Mir’s ability on a motorcycle is unquestionable and his results in recent years have impressed many teams. Unfortunately, the problem for Mir is that he has limited options and it brings us nicely to the second question.
So far, all the rumors in the paddock have mentioned Mir to be Marc Marquez’s teammate in the Repsol Honda Team for 2023. In terms of other possible options for Mir to choose from, it looks like other seats seem far fetched for Mir. One possible option that Mir may consider is RNF Racing, who will be joining Aprilia next year. To date there is still no confirmation whether Darryn Binder will continue with the team next year and the replacement for Andrea Dovizioso is still unknown. In Ducati, there is one available seat for next year, but Jorge Martin is the supposed favorite to replace Jack Miller, as Ducati would like to move Enea Bastianini into the Pramac Ducati Team. A reunion with Alex Rins is a possibility at LCR Honda, but AI Ogura is heavily rumored to take the second LCR Honda bike in 2023 replacing Takaaki Nakagami. Finally, some of you might be theorizing that Yamaha could terminate Franco Morbidelli’s contract because of his poor performance this year and make way for Mir, but I think that Yamaha will give Morbidelli another chance next year.
Mir and his agent would be wise to push for the Ducati factory seat solely because Ducati has the best bike on the grid. If Mir wants to have a chance at another championship fight, Ducati should definitely be a contending team. It’s very unlikely that this will actually be the case, as Ducati may not want to lose their top riders.
I know that it’s almost impossible to happen because Ducati might not want to lose top riders like Enea Bastianini or Jorge Martin to another factory team, but we never know what the future holds. In terms of the factory Honda seat, this may be a more realistic scenario, despite it being the less beneficial one. Honda is a team with sufficient resources to develop a good bike, but they seemed to drag Pol Espargaro down to a mediocre level. From Espargaro's final season at Red Bull KTM Factory Racing we know that he’s a capable driver if he has the bike. This suggests Honda may be the contributing factor to his lack of success this year. Mir risks the same fate should he move to Honda. The final and perhaps odd choice could be RNF Racing, they are admittedly a satellite team but they are taking Aprilia’s machinery next year and Aprilia has been successful this year. Should Mir choose this option it could play out interestingly… Only time will tell what lies for Joan Mir next season!