Alex Rins and Fabio Quartararo, Joan Mir’s closest rivals for the 2020 MotoGP World Championship, have both conceded their chances to overhaul the Suzuki rider are looking limited simply because they don’t see any obvious weaknesses in the Suzuki man’s armoury.
The pair are joint second in the overall standings – albeit with Quartararo classified as second on countback of three wins – and 37 points shy of Mir coming into the penultimate round in Valencia.
It means Mir needs a podium finish this weekend to take the 2020 crown, while team-mate Rins and Quartararo would have to win if their rival finishes in fourth position.
Despite the long shot facing them, Rins is otherwise in a positive mood having made a rapid ascension through the standings recently on the back of a strong run of form, even if he will no doubt rue the crashes he suffered from race-win challenging positions in Austria and France.
As the rider with the closest view into Mir strategy and data, he admits it would be ‘strange’ to see his countryman fall at this late stage hurdle.
“If we want to reduce this advantage then the only thing is to win,” he said. “As he demonstrated this season he is very regular, so let’s see first of all try to improve in my case the set-up of the bike because I think we were struggling in the last part of the race and then let’s try to enjoy it.
“I don’t think [he has any weaknesses]. I think he has a good margin and for sure he is very consistent in the last few races and he is doing a good job. It looks like the bike is working good so it will be difficult. It will be strange if he loses the championship.
In contrast to Rins, Quartararo’s distant title hopes come after leading the way for the majority of the year only to be undone by a series of disappointing results. For now his primary target is to keep the title race alive until the Portimao finale.
“He doesn’t like he has a lot of weaknesses but I am not really looking for weakness from him, but to manage the best way possible for us to do great, bring it to Portimao and fight until the end. I don’t see a lot of weakness but on our side we need to improve to fight for the win this weekend.”