Reigning MotoGP world champion Joan Mir has officially confirmed that he will continue to race with the #36 on his Suzuki GSX-RR this season and not use the #1 plate.
“The number will be the same as always, the loyal one, #36!” Mir explained. “I think it would have been really awesome to use the #1, a unique experience and a dream.
“But I believe that 36 is the number with which I’ve worked hard and it has taken me to where I am now, winning two world championships [MotoGP and Moto3].
“…this doesn’t mean if I happens again, I won’t chose #1. But for now, it’s the #36. The number that represents hard work and suits me best.”
— Team Suzuki Ecstar (@suzukimotogp) February 12, 2021
It hasn’t been on a Suzuki since Kenny Roberts Jr in 2001.
Despite the marketing benefits for the manufacturer and sponsors in having the #1, speaking earlier this week Suzuki MotoGP project manager Shinichi Sahara insisted he wouldn’t mind which number Mir chose.
“I was happy to see the #1 plate in Valencia last year [when Mir won the title]. For me that’s enough. But if Joan choses the #1 plate this year, of course I’m also happy,” Sahara said.
“It’s not easy, but we will try to have another #1 plate this year, so whatever number we have during the season doesn’t matter to me.”
No rider in the MotoGP era has successfully defended a title while using the #1 plate, something that last happened in the premier-class with Mick Doohan in 1998.