Honda’s Mir starts 2024 MotoGP season “with a bad feeling” after last test

The 2024 RC213V has been radically overhauled following a disastrous 2023 campaign, in which Honda finished last in the constructors’ standings, lost Marc Marquez to Gresini Ducati, and could manage just two grand prix podiums – albeit one being a win.

And while testing showed reasonable steps forward for the new bike, Honda still isn’t closer to being able to battle at the front consistently.

Mir, the 2020 world champion, scored just 26 points in a miserable maiden Honda campaign but does feel better on the new bike – which he calls ‘an actual MotoGP bike’.

However, he still feels on the back foot having been unable to get the bike to the level he would have wanted for the first round of the season, which he hopes to simply “survive”.

“Well, the truth is that a lot of things are new,” he said of the new Honda on Thursday at the Qatar GP.

“The bike is completely different, as you can see. It looks more like an actual MotoGP bike this year.

“I’m enjoying more to ride this bike, I’m able to be faster. When you enjoy more on the bike you are able to be fast.

Joan Mir, Repsol Honda Team

Joan Mir, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“But it’s true that after the last day of the last test, I had a bad feeling because I was not able to feel great on the last day.

“The first day we had some troubles and I don’t feel as prepared as we could, probably, and this will be a bit of a problem on the first day [of the Qatar GP] to try all the things that I couldn’t on the test and to see really where we are.

“In Sepang, the test was very good. More or less we knew our potential, but here I don’t know.

“Let’s try to be very focused on FP1. Stefan made a test yesterday, [so] try to understand if he improved anything.

“I have good expectations for this year, better ones. This one is not the best race for our bike, so if we survive and make a solid weekend, this will be something very positive.”

Mir believes consistent top 10s is a realistic main objective for 2024, but notes that the first half of this season has to be about ensuring Honda makes “correct steps forward”.

“My expectations after a very difficult year are, first of all, try to stay constantly in the top 10. This is clear,” he adds.

Joan Mir, Repsol Honda Team

Joan Mir, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“Then, if we try to be always there, try to attack the top five, and then if you are in the top five you fight for the podiums and the victories.

“Here, to start from the first race, if we are in the top 10 I will be very, very happy.

“Then from Portimao, tracks that are better for our bike, I think we can be a little bit more in front.

“I think in the first part of the season, we have to think… ok, racing is racing, but we have to focus on trying to not lose confidence, trying to make a correct step forward – not like last year, where we didn’t go upwards, we went backwards.”

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