Rins and Mir spent four years together at Suzuki, Rins winning five races on the GSX-RR and Mir the 2020 title.
Suzuki’s shock exit at the end of last season saw both jump to Honda, Mir to the official Repsol team alongside Marc Marquez and Rins to LCR with Takaaki Nakagami.
The RC213V’s decline has been well documented and the magnitude of the task facing the pair was clear from 18th (Mir) and 20th (Rins) in their first Honda test in Valencia.
Hopes were boosted by the arrival of former Suzuki technical director Ken Kawauchi in January. But the clear technical gap to the best European bikes continued.
That is with the sole exception of COTA, where Rins stunned to claim second place in the Sprint and then Honda’s first Grand Prix win since 2021.
“This year, the only one who could do a good result with the Honda is Alex at COTA, that weekend,” said Mir. Crash.net.
“Marc also showed good potential in the Sprint race in Portimao. But apart from that, it’s true that we couldn’t muster all the speed.
“COTA is a special piece. We only go once a year. It’s a very difficult track. If you are good at this part, you can make a difference. And I think Alex this year made the difference in that part.”
But Rins’ best result outside Texas is ninth and he later joined Mir and Marquez on the injury list due to a broken leg at Mugello.
Rins’ return date remains unclear, but there is no doubt where he will be in 2024, having secured a move to the Monster Yamaha team.
“Well, it’ll probably be good for him,” Mir said, when asked about Rins’ decision. “He’s a manufacturer with a lot of success in the past and he’s a fast rider, so I think he’ll be great in this pack.”
Did Yamaha talk to you?
“No, we have not spoken to Yamaha because we are in contact [with Honda] for the next year,” answered Mir.
“I honestly don’t look at anyone [other] position. i have full [commitment] with Honda as they have with me and I will try to do the best until the contract is over and then we will decide. But I still think this can work.”
But with just 11th place so far this season between two sets of injuries, not to mention Marquez’s zero points in any Sunday race, Mir knows he can’t expect a miracle.
“What I want is to start enjoying myself a little. That’s the first thing,” said the former Moto3 world champion.
“Finish matches, get good information and wait [until] there is some improvement in the bike. And then with full health and everything, to be able to say “OK this is working” and try to be where I want to be.
“But it doesn’t make sense for me to start crashing like I did in the past, [just] to finish outside the top ten. For me what probably makes the most sense, which I didn’t do at first, is to try to have lower expectations for myself.”
Mir’s comments appeared to echo the “new” approach Marquez said he was taking from Silverstone.
Don’t push the bike so hard when it’s not running?
“I don’t have such high expectations as I had at the beginning of the year, that I want to win. That’s my character,” Mir replied.
“Now in these difficult times to say, ‘OK, maybe if we push to be close to the top 10, for now it’s OK.’ Once something [new parts] as long as I’m able to push, I’ll be there – because we can do it, we’ve shown it in the past.
“So I think that’s the mindset I want to go with right now and if I go with it, I’m going to enjoy it.”
Marquez has spoken about happiness in his personal life, helping to balance the trough in his professional career.
This also happened to Mir, who recently became a father.
“To have a nice moment like this in such a difficult time is very, very welcome. I am very happy right now,” smiled Mir.
Further hand injuries before the summer break meant unintended extra time with his family, what did Mir think watching MotoGP from the sofa?
“Honestly after Mugello, I didn’t look at the Sachsenring races because I was like ‘crash’. Then in Assen, I was able to watch the races and everything. From the outside, it looks difficult [for Honda]. And from the inside, it’s probably even more difficult.”
Mir may not have watched the German round, but many saw Marquez’s misfortune at his most successful circuit as something of a watershed moment.
Did the Sachsenring show how difficult the situation is for Honda?
“Well, I don’t need to look at Marc’s results to know how difficult this situation is,” Mir replied. “I know a little bit about what’s going on there and it’s not easy for every rider at Honda to stay happy and stay positive.
“But in the end, that’s the character [building]. We have to show character. We must be calm. We all have to stick together and then push for the same thing. That’s what we want.”
“Marc is a super rider, the best on the grid,” added Mir. “It’s also hard to see results not coming for any of us – even if we’ve had good results in the past.
“Now being in this situation is not easy. It’s not easy for me [because] I have been successful in the past. So [just] imagine for him, who was always successful.”
Being teammate with Marc Marquez is one of the most difficult jobs in MotoGP, how did you find it?
“Well, having a fast teammate is always an advantage because you can get some data gain that you don’t get if you’re the one who’s always ahead,” Mir said.
“If you always have a strong teammate, it always improves the level of the riders and the team. Like what happened with me and Alex in the past with Suzuki.
“Now we can’t see [the benefit] to Honda because we are both not in the position we expected. But it is what it is right now.
“I’m sure we will improve. From now on, we can only get better. This is the truth right now and what we must do. Also, because MotoGP is so close now that even a ‘little bit better’ can mean a lot of places.”
Mir, who said DAZN had considered retiring but is sure to have regretted it, he is under contract with Honda until the end of 2024 and will be back on track at this weekend’s Austrian MotoGP.
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