If Joan Mir is feeling the pressure of leading the MotoGP World Championship with just three rounds to go, he’s doing a good job of hiding it.
The Suzuki star, yet to win a race and competing in only his second premier-class season, is currently being shadowed by three Yamaha riders with Fabio Quartararo, (14 points), Maverick Vinales (-19 points) and Franco Morbidelli (-25 points) all mathematically capable of taking the lead at Valencia on Sunday.
“Honestly, I don’t care about the others. I just care about my feeling on the bike, giving my 100% all the weekends. And in the end we are in this position, that actually with three races to go is not a bad position.
“But it’s important to continue like that. For sure we can see there are a lot of championship contenders more than normal, but it is what it is.”
Mir added: “If someone says they don’t have pressure, it’s lies. There’s always pressure, but it’s not a bad thing. Sounds like pressure is something [bad] you have, like a virus! But it’s not bad. Some people like it, some people not.
“But to try to fight for a championship is always good pressure and always welcome. The important thing is to know how to manage this pressure. It can be dangerous but for me it’s normal.”
Mir took the title lead from Quartararo at round 10 in Aragon, with the Frenchman insisting he feels ‘much better’ now he’s chasing.
“Most of the season I’ve been in front of the championship. I was feeling no pressure, but now that I’m second, I feel that I had a little bit of pressure and actually right now I feel much better,” Quartararo said.
“The confidence is here and of course we have a lot of contenders and in the end we see that this year we have not so many points compared to past years so everything can happen. 75 points in the game.
“I think all [the top six] can win the championship easily. So we need to stay focussed and try to take it race-by-race is the only way to fight for the championship.”
“I think our strategy is very clear, finish in front of those two guys!” smiled Vinales. ” Try to close the gap in the championship. It won’t be easy but we’ll work hard to try and finish in front of them.”