* DOTD = Data Of The Day *
Rider photo sourced from MotoGP.com
With Alex Rins announcing his 2 year contract extension with Suzuki Ecstar, all eyes fall on his sophomore teammate, Joan Mir. Mir has yet to announce any news around his contract going forward but based on his debut year performance, we have a good feeling about the young Spanish rider.
Today, we are going to revisit a piece that was published in the fall of 2019. Titled “Moving Through the Crowd with Suzuki,” this insightful article picks apart both Mir and Rins by studying their net movement between the flags. Because Alex Rins is out of the “contract hot seat,” we will be solely focusing on Joan Mir and his 2019 performance.
22 year old rookie, Joan Mir has had his ups and downs throughout his premier season but overall, his jump from Moto2 straight to a factory bike has shown great promise. There are a few telling signs reflected through his 2019 performance indexes and today we are going to identify one very unique pattern for both riders.
Let’s start big picture… Net movement refers to a rider’s total forward / backward movement throughout a race. For Grand Prix Scout, this means taking the difference between a rider’s Predator and Prey Index – how many opponents did they overtake vs how many did they let slip past?
A forward advancement requires strong predator skills where a rider studies the circuit, their opponents and the conditions to strategically overtake while preserving their bike, energy and tires. It also requires strong prey skills aka a strong defensive riding style. This means protecting lines in and out of corners and knowing your opponents attack techniques to think ahead and prevent passes.
Rookie Time – Joan Mir
For his first year in MotoGP and first year on a factory bike, Joan Mir shows great potential. His net movement vs final position are not too surprising as we can expect a rookie to ride out highs and endure the lows. Let’s start by stating the obvious. Joan’s graph shows something that Alex’s did not… A negative blue bar. This means that there were 3 times throughout his first season where his final race position ended behind from where he started on the grid.
What does this mean? Joan has yet to refine his prey skills which allows a rider to defend their position from those behind them. So his prey skills may not be fully developed, that’s okay! There were only 3 times this season where his position dropped and otherwise, Mir was able to make advancements forward and finish in the top 10 almost every single race. Although some races had very little movement forward, he was able to hold a strong race position and focus on the smaller battles within sectors that require studying your opponents and playing your skills to their weaknesses.
Joan Mir shows a strong trajectory going into the 2020 season with the Suzuki team and we believe that studying his teammate, Alex Rins, would pay off greatly as his net movement continues on a positive trajectory.